The first jobs report of 2018 looks an awful lot like the jobs reports from the last several years.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that the economy added 200,000 jobs in January, up a bit from December’s totals. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%, which is very low.
Perhaps the most notable development in the report was the increase in hourly wage growth. Expect a spirited debate over the possible explanations for this, including the inevitable result of low unemployment, the Republican tax cuts, and the minimum-wage hikes that recently kicked in across much of the country.
Also note, once a year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes revised month-to-month job data for the previous year, and that’s reflected in today’s report. We now know that in 2017, the U.S. economy generated 2.17 million jobs – which is a pretty healthy number, though it’s lower than what Americans have seen in recent years.
The economy added 2.3 million in 2013, 2.99 million in 2014, 2.71 million in 2015, and 2.24 million in 2016, making 2017 the worst for job growth since 2012, when the economy added 2.17 million jobs.
Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly changes in total jobs since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction: red columns point to monthly changes under the Bush and Trump administrations, while blue columns point to monthly job changes under the Obama administration.