Wednesday and Thursday, even the liberal press was saying this was the best week of Donald Trump’s presidency. And then the Labor Department announced that the economy had added 225,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate went up from an insanely low 3.5 percent to 3.6 percent. But that’s actually a good thing, because it is the result of more people deciding not to give up and to start looking for work. And wages went up too.
According to the Wall Street Journal:
U.S. hiring strengthened in January as more Americans hopped into the labor market, helping juice up the economy at the start of the year.
Employers added 225,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6% from 3.5% in December, an increase that reflected more Americans looking for work, the Labor Department said Friday.
Wages climbed 3.1% from a year earlier, a touch higher than December’s year-over-year rise of 3%.
“The labor market and the consumer are the strength of the economy and they’re in good shape,” said Eric Winograd, senior economist at AllianceBernstein.
Some of the January job gains came in industries, such as construction and transportation, that benefited from mild winter weather. Still, employers across an array of sectors added jobs. That helped lift payroll growth for the past three months to an average of 211,000 jobs compared with a monthly average of 175,000 for all of last year.
Robert Jones, president of American Sale, an Illinois-based retailer of home-recreation goods such as trampolines and hot tubs, said his 200-person company will add about 20 workers this year. He expects a low unemployment rate and solid economy to help spur consumer spending on big-ticket items.
“When you have more demand, you have more to do, so you just need more people,” Mr. Jones said.
Companies are drawing from a larger pool of job seekers to fill roles. In January, the share of Americans ages 25 to 54 working or looking for work ticked up to 83.1% from 82.9% in December, the highest rate since 2008.