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October Job Data Shows Economic Growth, Boosted By Restaurant Staffing Ramping Up
A ''Now Hiring" sign hangs above the entrance to a restaurant in Miami in November 2021. Joe Raedle / Getty Images file

Resilient U.S. job market kept its hot streak going in August

We’ve all heard plenty of talk about a possible recession, but at least for now, there’s no evidence of it in the surprisingly resilient U.S. job market.


Expectations heading into this morning showed projections of about 300,000 new jobs added in the United States in August. As it turns out, according to the new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the preliminary tally suggests the domestic job market did a little better than that. CNBC reported this morning:

Nonfarm payrolls rose solidly in August amid an otherwise slowing economy, while the unemployment rate ticked higher as more workers rejoined the labor force, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The economy added 315,000 jobs for the month.

The nation’s 3.7% unemployment is up a bit from last month’s 3.5% rate, but it’s still at historic lows, and it’s not bad news: As more Americans re-entered the job market in August, the labor force participation rate inched higher, which had the effect of raising the overall rate.

It’s counterintuitive — 3.7% unemployment certainly seems worse than 3.5% — but more workers entering the job market is a positive development.

The news was less good on the revisions front: Job totals from June and July were both revised down, with June’s totals showing an especially sharp drop. Nevertheless, today’s data is broadly encouraging.

So far in 2022, the economy has created 3.5 million jobs, and that’s after just eight months. By any fair measure, that’s an extraordinary total, more in line with what we’d expect to see in a full year.

We’ve all heard plenty of talk about a possible recession, but at least for now, there’s no evidence of it in the surprisingly resilient U.S. job market.

As for the politics, let’s circle back to previous coverage to put the data in perspective. Over the course of the first three years of Donald Trump’s term — when the then-president said the United States’ economy was the greatest in the history of the planet — the economy created roughly 6.4 million jobs. This included all of 2017, 2018 and 2019.

According to the latest tally, the U.S. economy has created 10.2 million jobs since January 2021 — far in excess of the combined total of Trump’s first three years. In fact, this year’s total to date exceeds any individual year of the former president’s term.

In recent months, Republicans have responded to developments like these by pretending not to notice them. I have a hunch GOP officials will keep the trend going today.

Postscript: For some additional context, consider job growth by year over the past decade:

2013: 2.3 million

2014: 3 million

2015: 2.7 million

2016: 2.3 million

2017: 2.1 million

2018: 2.3 million

2019: 2 million

2020: -9.3 million

2021: 6.7 million

2022 (so far): 3.5 million

In early 2020, such a turnaround would’ve been very difficult to believe. And yet, here we are.