The new job report

What did the national January job report show? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden discusses the highlights what he calls a good report.

“Businesses added a little over 240,000 jobs nationwide. That was a very healthy increase. It was actually a much better increase than we’d seen in recent months. We had job gains across the board in manufacturing and professional jobs and entertainment, recreation and health care.

“Now the unemployment rate — that gets the most attention — did drop from 8.5 to 8.3 percent. Now there’s a lot of criticism of that unemployment rate. It doesn’t (include) folks, for example, who have stopped … looking for work. But even if you include those other kinds of unemployment rates, for example, those that do include as unemployed so-called discouraged workers, those unemployment rates also went down.

“So I think all-in-all it was a good report. It’s going to be a challenge to see if that continues. If the growth in the economy and the growth of jobs continues at this rate, my particular forecast is we’re not going to have roughly 250,000 jobs created each month. It’s probably going to be more in the neighborhood of 150,000 to 175,000.

“But, still, job growth is good. And so we are seeing some good, although sluggish in some people’s eyes, improvement in the labor market.”

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