Published for Politico’s Arena, February 4th, 2011:
This is strange report, because the month-over-month payroll report can only be seen as a disappointment — only a net 36,000 jobs created in January, but the unemployment rate fell by a very large amount — down to 9 percent. It will take some time to square those two numbers — it could be a one month anomaly affected by weather and other issues, but with employers reporting such a low number of jobs, it’s hard to see how the rate could be so low.
This is the second month in a row that job creation has lagged while the rate came down. I can only assume that workers are becoming discouraged and stopping looking for work. At the end of the day, we need monthly job growth and we’re just not seeing it. It’s very disappointing.