The Employment Market Continues to Be Weak

At this rate, it will take us forever to achieve full employment:

The American economy added 113,000 jobs in January, a disappointing showing that is likely to spur fears that the labor market is poised for yet another slowdown.

Before the report from the Labor Department on Friday morning, economists had been looking for the economy to gain 180,000 positions last month. But after an extraordinarily weak showing for hiring in December, some experts are concerned that weakness is carrying into 2014 and signaling a broader loss of momentum in the economy.

The unemployment rate in January was 6.6 percent, compared with 6.7 percent in December.

While some other economic figures have suggested strength in the economy recently, especially the robust rate of growth in the United States in the second half of 2013, the labor market has been healing more slowly.

Still, in the fall there had been enough pickup in hiring to persuade the Federal Reserve in December to gradually begin scaling back its stimulus efforts. With the January report substantially weaker than expected, that call is looking increasingly premature.

Regarding that last paragraph, I am going to quote myself concerning the last employment report: “Of equal concern is the Federal Reserve decision this week to taper bond purchases by $10 billion this month, and to end the purchases later this year. Today’s news should serve as an indication that we are not prepared to do that just yet.” Those words apply for the purposes of this blog post as well.

Incidentally, remember when Barack Obama told us during the 2012 election cycle that things were looking up from an employment standpoint? Sure you do. Anyone going to call him out for that entirely incorrect appraisal of the jobs situation?

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