January Employment Report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 111,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 4.6 percent

Actually, the unemployment rate increased from 4.5% in December to 4.6% last month as the household survey reported an employment of only 31,000. The low growth in employment means the employment to population ratio declined from 63.4% to 63.3%. The enthusiasm of Jonah Goldberg’s economic gurus might be a little tempered by today’s news. The average workweek also declined. Combined with a very modest increase in the nominal hourly wage, the fall in the hours worked per week led to a fall in average weekly earnings. In short, a rather disappointing piece of news.

Footnote: I need to get up earlier as our friend CalculatedRisk reported the news before this sleepy Bear again. But when he did, the BLS database was down so he had to rely on this account, which noted that the expected employment was 170,000 and added:

The details of the report suggested some softening in the labor market

Given the fact that CalculatedRisk also lives on the West Coast, might I suggest to his wife that she turn off the alarm clock next month so sleepy Bear might for once blog on this first?