Jobapalooza Open Thread

151,000 new jobs in January, somewhat less than the 190K forecast, but the unemployment rate fell to 4.9% and wages up, a wash on revisions.

Retailers added almost 58,000 jobs last month, the most since November 2014, and the health care industry took on another 44,000 workers. Perhaps most surprising was a 29,000 gain in hiring at manufacturers, the biggest increase since August 2013.

Payrolls picked up at producers of fabricated metals, automobiles, food and furniture.

The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey called for a 190,000 gain in overall payrolls last month, with estimates ranging from gains of 142,000 to 260,000.

December payrolls were revised down to 262,000 from 292,000 and November employment was revised up to 280,000 from 252,000. The revisions to these months subtracted a total of 2,000 jobs to overall payrolls.

Friday’s data showed a much-awaited pickup in wage growth is starting to manifest itself. Average hourly earnings rose 0.5 percent from a month earlier to $25.39. The year-over-year increase of 2.5 percent followed a 2.7 percent jump in the 12 months ended in December, which was the biggest advance since mid-2009.

So things continue to improve at  reasonable pace.  I’m sure any of the Republicans running for president this year can find a way to completely ruin that in 2017.


64 replies
  1. 1
    raven says:

    It’s all over, America sux. Where’s Trump, Cruz, McClaren, goblue???

  2. 2
    satby says:

    Stuff like this is encouraging. But I have to say, this is the longest I’ve gone without a good job. Retail being up is ok, but those aren’t good jobs.

  3. 3
    Peale says:

    I wouldn’t get too comfortable. I’m hoping that people are treating the suddenly low gas prices like a windfall and spending on other things. I don’t think we will see many people overjoyed at the economy come November otherwise.

  4. 4
    raven says:

    @Peale: Every other fucking new report is about how angry everybody is. You think there’s some anger of that changing?

  5. 5
    bystander says:


    @Peale: Every other fucking new report is about how angry everybody is. You think there’s some anger of that changing?

    No. Every repub repeats some form of,”Things are terrible and getting worse.” Our compliant and willfully uninformed “journalists” will never challenge such obvious lies. If you already have a baseless hatred for any number of other Americans, you accept everything that confirms your stupidity.

  6. 6
    p.a. says:

    wages up

    Time for the Fed to ^ interest rates. Can’t have that trend continue.
    B Fife:”Nip it! Nip it in the bud.”

  7. 7

    @p.a.: Purely personal experience here —
    :Last week was the second time in a year when my boss called me into her office and said that my pay band (2.5% of the company) is getting another 1.2% bump without it being treated as a merit or performance review. HR figures they need to bump salaries a bit for some skills to get the people they want.

  8. 8
    cgordon says:

    Ryan’s austerity budget ought to do just fine to screw things up.

  9. 9
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @bystander: I think there’s still a segment of Americans who simply haven’t felt the improvement at all. Many are young, and either don’t have college degrees or are just out of school with huge debt. And so many rural areas are just disaster zones; these regions have outsize political influence for their population.

  10. 10
    Germy says:

    O . T.

    rare photos of the vietnam war, taken from the other side

  11. 11
    Baud says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    And so many rural areas are just disaster zones; these regions have outsize political influence for their population.

    And their response is to keep electing the type of people whose goal is to prevent the government from improving their situation. See Kansas.

  12. 12
    gene108 says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    There’s also a large segment of the population that lost everything during the Great Recession and this recovery has not been strong enough to make them whole.

    In short, a good many people are poorer today than when Obama took office.

  13. 13
    The Republic, Blah Blah Blah... says:

    Don’t know what the broader implications of this are, but LinkdIn continues to crash this morning…

    Down under $113/share since the opening bell and continuing its spectacular drop…

  14. 14
    Germy says:

    And their response is to keep electing the type of people whose goal is to prevent the government from improving their situation. See Kansas.

    There is a whole media empire dedicated to informing their opinions.

  15. 15
    CaseyL says:

    Did some bad news come out about LinkedIn? Or are people finally realizing it’s not really good for much of anything?

  16. 16
    Baud says:

    @The Republic, Blah Blah Blah…: God help us if LinkedIn has broader implications for anything.

  17. 17
    The Republic, Blah Blah Blah... says:

    @CaseyL: Last quarter numbers were generally good… guidance for coming year was less than hoped for…

    Grossly overvalued by the public and it finally caught up to them…

    Kind of a spectacular crash going on in the moment… it’s almost like a spectator sport, watching the numbers spin… EIGHT times the average daily volume of shares have changed hands in the 1st 30 minutes of trading this am…

  18. 18
    ARoomWithAMoose says:

    LinkedIn posted revenues lower than projected for last quarter.

    Given that they are a sort of a nebulous social media services provider, I’d ignore it as being important unless you somehow have money tied up in them.

  19. 19

    Or are people finally realizing it’s not really good for much of anything?

    Hilarious. Just yesterday I finally consigned the last of their emails to the spam bucket. Maybe that’s driving down the stock.

    Yeah, they’re worthless and long overdue for their investors to figure that out. I’ve used it from both the search end and the hiring end. Especially if you’re trying to find a potential hire…never felt so ripped off in my life.

  20. 20
    Germy says:


    Did some bad news come out about LinkedIn? Or are people finally realizing it’s not really good for much of anything?

    For entertainment, I once read the linkedin profile of a boss I had years ago. He was actually fired from our company back in ’98, for dishonesty and incompetence, after which we were all more or less left alone to manage ourselves until two years later when we were all laid off.

    Anyway, on his linkedin page, he fudges the dates, claims he worked there until 2004, and then seemlessly took another management position.

    Is that common? Are a good percentage of linkedin profiles bullshit and lies?

  21. 21
    MomSense says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    There was an article on the jobs page (online) of the biggest newspaper in our state. It was about the top 25 jobs/growth sectors for the next 10 years. I think about 20 of them were call center, customer service, waitstaff, and just service jobs generally. Five were highly specialized jobs.

    There is just not enough growth in the fields that are available for most people. If it were up to me, I would focus on wage increases but instead of phasing in minimum wage by dollar per hour ie: 10.10 now, 12 in 2018, and so on I would phase it in by size of business. Let’s start with $15/hour in the big box stores like Walmart, Target, Home Despot, Lowe’s and the like and then move on to smaller businesses. The big stores can afford it, the playing field with smaller businesses would level out a bit, and the increased demand with all those employees spending money would make a huge difference. To keep my chef son, his restaurant would have to pay him at least $18/hour.

  22. 22
    chopper says:


    you people are idiots. I was there, man. I was there when mcgovern ran in ’68 and when the Germans bombed pearl harbor…

  23. 23
    MomSense says:


    I didn’t realize it was a going concern. On the rare occasion when I received one of those invite emails, I thought it was like the MySpace last gasp check out your friend so and so emails from a mostly dead business.

  24. 24
    beltane says:

    @Richard Mayhew: My husband’s employer chose to increase paid vacation time quite considerably as of this year, though a bump in salary would also be appreciated.

  25. 25
    Germy says:


    I would phase it in by size of business.

    Exactly. Whenever I read an article online in my local media about raising the minimum wage, the comments sections fill up with the fox news crowd screaming it’ll put poor local Mom&Pop Inc. out of business. If it were tied to revenue and business size, the squawking might stop. Because even the foxiest of the commenters don’t have too much love for the big box stores, as addicted as they are to them.

  26. 26
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @CONGRATULATIONS!: I actually have found it useful in the past when I was looking for work. But not for connecting with anyone new, just as an online Rolodex for reconnecting with people I already know and used to work with. The fact that it’s separate from leisure-oriented social media is itself useful.

    But it’s also badly designed and annoying.

  27. 27
    MomSense says:


    Portland, Maine couldn’t pass a referendum raising the minimum wage because of the concerns about small businesses already feeling squeezed. Voters in Portland, Maine are very liberal. It’s not a conservative town so I think we have to adjust our strategy.

  28. 28
    Hal says:

    I saw a post today on Facebook from a friend featuring the Sanders quote about people who work 40 hours a week should not have to live in poverty follow up by a caption that said something along the lines of not giving “their” money to people who don’t work at all.

    Odious anti-welfare nonsense aside for a moment, a decrease in the unemployment rate is wonderful, but a wage increase is desperately needed with these jobs. I wish people like my Facebook friend would realize that instead of blaming poor people, and that getting rid of the social safety net for the poor and working class will only make things worse. The biggest obstacle to raising wages seems to be the very people who would benefit the most from them.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    ruemara says:

    @Hal: Maybe you should nicely say that to your friend. The best way to change a person’s mind is kind redirection from someone they like.

    I welcome all this economic prosperity. Means I can sell them more stuff. And, since I can’t remember my banking password, I’m rolling in the dough I can’t spend.

  31. 31
    C.V. Danes says:

    I don’t put much stock in an unemploment rate of 4.9% when the U6 is holding steady at 10%, although that is down from 12% a year ago. Plus, black youth unemployment is still like 50%.

    My gut tells me that low paying jobs are up, but good paying not so much.

  32. 32
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    TrumpDonald dot org Kind of addictive.

    ETA don’t forget to click

  33. 33

    “I’m sure any of the Republicans running for president this year can find a way to completely ruin that in 2017.”

    Quite right, but if a Democrat is elected, the business community will cheerfully and ruthlessly sabotage the economy for another eight years, as they have sabotaged it for the past eight.

  34. 34
    Germy says:

    @Frank Wilhoit: They will continue to sit on piles of cash; refuse to reinvest.

  35. 35

    What we need is round of reunionization. Unions are what made manufacturing jobs well-paying. There’s no necessary reason for fast food jobs, for instance, to be paid less that a job on an assembly line. Both are hard work and take only basic skills. IMHO, retail workers are paid so little because women hold most of those jobs and people look and maybe unconsciously see them as people not supporting a family. Our attitudes toward what people should be paid are warped by our history. /useless rant

    #old lady shaking fist at clouds

  36. 36
    Bobby D says:

    I think we’ll be in recession by the Nov election. This has been a historically long expansion, and the knock-on effects of a poor world economy are impacting US economy. Oil looks to have bottomed, and that boosting effect on the US consumer due to lower gas is going to slowly dissipate.

    Hoping to see stocks bottom sometime in the early fall, I’ve been out of equities since last summer, and expect to re-enter around Oct of this year. Hopefullly around Dow 14.5k or lower. As always, time will tell, but it could be a wildcard issue in the election, especially if the market is melting down in the month or two before.

  37. 37
    Punchy says:

    Some sort of crane crashed in NYC today. Damn birds just dont know how to fly in winter weather, I’m guessing.

  38. 38
    Amir Khalid says:

    Yeah, it is kind of fun.

  39. 39
    Amir Khalid says:

    Could it have been flying drunk from eating overripe, part-fermented fruit? I’ve heard of that happening.

  40. 40
    Peale says:

    @Germy: I don’t like the idea of staggered minimum wages as the small businesses actually are quite good at getting “extensions” on times to comply. Also there are ways that large companies have to appear to be small to regulators when they want to be. Paper here, paper there, employees leased and whatnot.

  41. 41
    Mike in DC says:

    Lowest rate during Clinton was 3.8. Post-Korean War, I think the lowest has been around 3.5. So I would guess that full employment is reached at around 3.5 to 4 percent, barring a major military conflict requiring full mobilization.

  42. 42
    beltane says:

    @Peale: In my experience, Mom and Pop exploit their employees even worse than the box stores. Those “tip jars” you see in small businesses? That money gets deducted from the employees paycheck, thus making the “tips” an employer subsidy.

  43. 43
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Iowa Old Lady: I agree, but unions have proven ineffective for jobs that can be moved overseas. There needs to be some other mechanism in place for that.

  44. 44
    piratedan7 says:

    anecdotally, I’ve just come in from out of the cold, where I was a hired gun for the better part of the last four years and back to a gig with benefits…. been a long while.

  45. 45
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Amir Khalid: I had to tear the mouse out of my cold dead fingers.

  46. 46
    Germy says:

    How often do you hear someone excited to talk about how they know how to do lithography? How many people will talk to you for an hour — off the top of their heads — about what they think is going to happen in the next season of Game of Thrones? Over the past 50 years or so, different sorts of writers and thinkers have argued that there has been a fundamental change in how we understand ourselves; a change in who we think we are. We’ve shifted from seeing ourselves primarily as makers of things, craftspeople of one variety or another, to seeing ourselves primarily as consumers of things. As the legal scholar Harry Arthurs puts it, people “now seem to prefer alternative identities: as consumers and investors rather than as producers.” In other words, we take pride in what we take in rather than what we know how to do.

  47. 47
    Matt McIrvin says:

    @C.V. Danes: The thing about using U6 instead of U3 is that the relationship between the two is pretty constant. When U3 goes up and down, U6 does too, and it’s where it usually is when the U3 is where it is. Sometimes people act as if U6 is increasing (or they confuse it with the labor non-participation rate).

  48. 48
    geg6 says:

    I guess it depends on where you are geographically and what skills you have to see improvement in jobs. For instance, around here right now, there is a huge demand for business majors with an accounting focus (but not accountants) and anyone with any kind of skills or experience in supply chain, including management. I have no idea why but I do know that is what so many of the local employers here are asking for when either recruiting our prospective graduates or at local job fairs. But I realize that, for once, the Pittsburgh region is doing pretty well on the jobs front. It’s been pretty strong for a long time on the strength of the education, medical and technology sectors here. Our grads have almost no difficulty getting jobs, even the ones who are graduating with journalism degrees.

  49. 49
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …There’s also this persistent notion that at some point the top-line unemployment rate changed from something far more accurate to what it is now, and that this masked some kind of ongoing rot. But the actual change (back in the Clinton years, I think) was from U-5 to U-3, and U-5 just is not that different from U-3.

    Most of the difference between U-6 and U-3 is between U-6 and U-5 (it’s the people who are taking crappy part-time jobs because they can’t find anything better).

    Sometimes people claim that the labor force participation rate is dropping because of discouraged workers, but if so, it’s not what U-4/U-5 counts as discouraged workers, because there just aren’t that many of them. It’s something else. I think some of it may be young people who are not entering the labor force at all, possibly because of discouragement about the state of the job market.

  50. 50
    Matt McIrvin says:

    …And some of it is just the general aging of the population into segments where they’re more likely to be retired (though labor force participation for older age groups is actually increasing).

  51. 51
    Felonius Monk says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That thing is pretty addictive and funny.

    Read the other day that you were getting the cast taken off. Glad to hear it. How’s the hoof working?

  52. 52
    beltane says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Lately I’ve been seeing lots of frail, elderly people working service jobs where they have to be on their feet all day. We are reaching the point where any form of retirement is a luxury reserved for the upper middle class.

  53. 53
    Peale says:

    @Matt McIrvin: I heard that “Unemployment Stats are Bunk” all throughout the 80s as well. Liberals have never trusted them and when Democrats are in charge, Republicans don’t. There’s always this sense that real numbers are out there that are more dismal.

  54. 54

    @Mike in DC:
    It’s important to remember that economists generally talk not about “full employment” but about NAIRU (non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment), i.e. the level of employment that doesn’t cause inflation to rise. It’s quite possible for unemployment to go below NAIRU, at which point you start to see inflation spike upward. My gut feeling- like a lot of other posters here- is that you have to look beyond the headline U3 number (based on people out of work and actively looking for a job) and look at broader measures like U6 (based on people out of work including those who have given up looking and people who are working part time but want to work full time).

    U6 is still up at about 10%, while it got down below 7% during the Clinton boom and below 8% under Bush II. That suggests there’s still a lot of slack in the labor market- there are still millions of people who are available to work or to work more who aren’t even counted in the official number- which helps to explain why wages aren’t going up more even as we’re supposedly close to full employment. It also helps to explain why the Fed is misguided to start raising interest rates now. Inflation isn’t a problem, and it isn’t likely to become a problem soon.

  55. 55
    MomSense says:

    Is there much of a practical difference between getting extensions on times to comply and phasing in wage increases?

    If not and phased in wage increases would help to get minimum wage referenda and/or legislation passed, then I would think it would be preferable. Besides, a small business that doesn’t want to comply when they are phased in would also have a great deal of local competition to keep or hire employees.

  56. 56

    @Matt McIrvin:

    The thing about using U6 instead of U3 is that the relationship between the two is pretty constant.

    Except that isn’t really true. Right now, U3 is about 5% and U6 is about 10%. When U3 was about 5% under Bush II, U6 was about 9%. The same thing was true under Clinton. IOW, a given U3 level today shows a weaker overall labor market than it did in the past.

  57. 57

    How often do you hear someone excited to talk about how they know how to do lithography?

    @Germy: I can build an acoustic guitar (and a few other instruments as well). Starting with cutting down the tree if needed.

    There’s not a lot of people who can do that, or really, do anything, anymore. The article you linked to is stunning. Didn’t really think about that aspect of building as opposed to consuming, but in truth there’s really little difference.

  58. 58
    MomSense says:


    Where I live, we have a lot of people who make things. We don’t get paid well enough for what we make, but it is definitely part of the culture.

  59. 59
    Brachiator says:

    So things continue to improve at reasonable pace. I’m sure any of the Republicans running for president this year can find a way to completely ruin that in 2017.

    The jobs data is good, but misleading.

    As other commenters here have noted, the new jobs are not replacing the old jobs with respect to wages, permanence, etc.

    Context is important. And even for people who take these jobs, it may not always offset the impact of a long period of unemployment.

    This is not the fault of either the Democrats or the Republicans, and the Democrats can rightfully say that their policies do not suppress job creation.

    But the economy is still sucky, and the long term prospects are not rosy.

  60. 60
    Cacti says:

    @Matt McIrvin:

    I think some of it may be young people who are not entering the labor force at all, possibly because of discouragement about the state of the job market.

    The millennials are having their generational moment where they learn that not everyone gets to be an astronaut when they grow up.

  61. 61
    maurinsky says:

    LinkedIn stock crashing the week I actually got a useful job offer from someone who found me on LinkedIn! That sounds about right.

    My daughter has been looking for a job and can’t find one. She is by trade a teacher but left after 2 years of not being able to actually teach students because the priority is on training them for test taking, not actually teaching them.

    I don’t begrudge anyone for wanting to find a job that they love, but sometimes you have to just bring some money in. Of course, my daughter’s situation is complicated because A) she and her husband are moving to Chicago in August because he got a good post-doc job there; and B) she just found out she’s pregnant with twins, who are due in, you guessed it, August.

    If anyone knows of any temporary/short-term jobs in Boston, please let me know!

  62. 62
    Brachiator says:


    Every other fucking new report is about how angry everybody is. You think there’s some anger of that changing?

    No. The impact of the bad economy, including the damage the Republicans did.

    But here, people are not stupid. They see that their own lives are still hard. They see that the jobs that remain don’t pay well, or that other family members are still unemployed or under-employed. And they see that a lot of politicians are doing well, and just talking and not doing enough.

    This doe not excuse the misdirected anger at innocent people, the scapegoating, the racism, the raw hatred that the GOP fueled and which is getting out of control.

    But some of the reasons for the anger are valid, and are grounded in people’s actual experience, not just what they see on TV or hear on the radio.

  63. 63
    C.V. Danes says:

    @Matt McIrvin: Yeah, it was the non-participation rate that I was thinking about.

  64. 64
    Origuy says:

    Well, my division just posted an opening for a replacement to my co-worker. He is going to another division in the company. The opening is for a software developer with two or more years of experience. A few years ago it was a lot harder to get approval to replace someone. There are also several openings for college (paid) interns in software and hardware development, located in Palo Alto.

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