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U.S. job growth is off to an amazing start in 2022

Forecasters expected job growth to be strong in the early months of 2022. They just didn’t expect it to be this strong.


Expectations heading into this morning showed projections of about 440,000 new jobs added in the United States in February. As it turns out, according to the new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the preliminary tally suggests the domestic job market is even hotter than forecasts predicted. CNBC reported:

Nonfarm payrolls for the month grew by 678,000 and the unemployment rate was 3.8%, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

What’s more, job totals from December and January were both revised up, adding an additional 92,000 previously unreported new jobs — on top of the 678,000 jobs created in February.

So far in 2022, the economy has created 1.16 million jobs, and that’s after just two months.

The nation’s 3.8 percent unemployment rate is the lowest since President Joe Biden took office, and is nearly as low as the 3.5 percent rate from before the start of the economic crisis created by the Covid-19 pandemic. All told, the U.S. economy has now gained back 90 percent of its pandemic job losses — and it’s happened faster than hardly anyone thought possible a year ago.

Also note, this morning’s report added that over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings point to wage growth of 5.1 percent.

As for the political context, over the course of the first three years of Donald Trump’s term — when the then-Republican president said the United States’ economy was the greatest in the history of the planet — the economy created roughly 6.5 million jobs. This includes all of 2017, 2018, and 2019.

According to the latest tally, since January 2021, the U.S. economy created 7.9 million jobs — well above the combined total of Trump’s first three years.

For many years, I ran a chart at the bottom of posts about the monthly jobs reports, but the job losses at the start of the pandemic were so severe, it’s rendered the image largely meaningless. I’m still retooling it in the hopes of making it useful again.