Nothing not to like in this month’s make-believe economic report that will be revised seven times before finally being put to bed sometime in the future. It stands in stark contrast to the January disappointment, which goes to show that, well, nothing matters.
Either way, the taper’s on for the March FOMC meeting. It probably was anyway, but now nobody’s going to bitch about it.
* Headline number was 175,000 – that’s versus consensus expectations of 149,000 and January’s paltry 113,000. Keep in mind, we’re talking about a labor force of over 150 million, so these changes of 10k or 20k jobs aren’t relevant in real life, only amongst financial commentators and chief economist types. But we play along because the market sometimes does.
* Unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 6.7% from 6.6%. Whatever.
* This was the cool news – average hourly earnings had a 0.4% increase, a jump more than double the expectations. Hourly earnings growth is now running at 2.2%, which is very good for the real economy. It means better confidence, spending, etc. Wages (in real terms) have been stagnant for US workers for a decade – a trend change in this area is quite welcome.
* Unemployment amongst college graduates is now 3.4%. That’s as close to full employment as you get for the “knowledge economy”, hopefully this will continue to translate to a rise across the rest of the workforce but at an improved pace this year.
Okay, that’s all I got on that. Carry on.