The American economy added 209,000 new jobs last month, 90,000 of which were needed to keep up with population growth. This means that net job growth clocked in at 119,000 jobs. That’s an OK number, about the same as last month and equal to the average of the past three years. The headline unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 4.3 percent, all of it due to an increase in the number of employed people. A net of about 150,000 people re-entered the labor force, and the labor participartion rate ticked up slightly.
Hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees went up at an annual rate of 3.4 percent. Inflation is currently running at 1.6 percent, so that’s pretty good. If we could only keep this up for a year or two, we might have a real recovery. All in all, this was a modestly positive report with no real downsides.