Today, the government reported that American payrolls grew by 113,000 people. That's 41 percent lower than the average pace of monthly job creation last year. The professional forecasters, who were well aware of the bad weather in January, had still be predicting growth of about 180,000. That's from the official survey of payrolls. The parallel survey of households finds the unemployment rate in January seeming to improve from 6.7 to 6.6 percent, even with the labor force participation rate expanding slightly. Julia Coronado, chief economist North America for BNP Paribas in New York has been reading into the Labor Department report and joined us to help explain.
January is always notorious because of the seasonal issues, but we didn't see a huge weather effect here because construction was actually very strong with manufacturing.
We also spoke with Jason Furman, who is chair of the President's council of economic advisors, who pointed out there was good news in the report.
The unemployment rate is coming down steadily and more quickly than a lot had expected. If you look just a couple months ago, forecasters thought it would take us maybe to the end of 2014, maybe even longer, to get that unemployment rate down to 6.6 percent.
Click play on the audio player above to hear the interview.