The government’s closely watched employment report for January looked very weak this morning. There were just 113,000 extra jobs recorded, when professional forecasters, already aware of the bad weather, were expecting something closer to 180,000. Yet, the government found the labor force expanded slightly and the unemployment rate fell to 6.6 percent. Some of the difference here may be that the first survey comes from the government asking businesses: how many people you got on your payroll. And second is from the government calling people at home asking, who’s working?
And, we talk to an actual human being behind the government statistics on the labor market that were released today. Last fall, we spoke to Maureen Cunningham, who at 51 recently moved to Florida, when her husband retired. Before the move, she’d arranged to keep doing a version of old job from the new location. But now she’s stuck looking for work again and we wanted to check in.
Also, there will be some useful fine print when the Federal Reserve today releases what it calls it’s G-19 Consumer Credit report. This obscure calculation will tellsus a couple of things: including how much credit is being extended to consumers, and how much debt we are collectively carrying. Marketplace’s Noel King has more on how much debt is too much.
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