January’s job numbers: the good, the bad

Scott Tong Feb 4, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

January’s job numbers: the good, the bad

Scott Tong Feb 4, 2011
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

JEREMY HOBSON: Now let’s get to this morning’s big jobs report from the labor department. The unemployment rate is down from 9.4 percent to 9 percent. That’s the lowest in almost 2 years. At the same time, the economy only created 36,000 jobs in January.

Analysis in a moment. Marketplace’s Scott Tong starts us off first with the numbers.


SCOTT TONG: OK first the bad. 36,000 new jobs is downright weak. And a surprise, to economic consultant Peter Cohan.

PETER COHAN: This 36,000 number sounds like it’s way below what people expected. That sounds kind of disappointing to me.

He figures hiring has slowed, though bad weather could foul up that number. On the smiley side, the unemployment rate fell to 9.0 percent. But Cohan thinks the number’s artificially skewed – that more people are so discouraged they’ve quit looking, so they don’t show up in the number. Still, a drop in the rate feels good, and that matters, says Anthony Crescenzi at the bond firm Pimco.

ANTHONY CRESCENZI: Brian Williams will report tonight that the jobless rate fell, and Katie Couric to 9 percent from 9.4. and the public will feel better as a result.

It’s not just about feeling better, he says Americans more upbeat will go out and hunt for jobs.

In Washington I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.