Experts expected January, 2020, to be a strong month for the economy. They knew spending was up. They knew jobs were being handed out like candy to match the impressive fiscal indicators. They just didn’t realize the job surge would be as massive as it was.
Even left-leaning CNBC couldn’t find a way to spin the results as a negative, though they did try to say it was mostly because of the weather. Nevertheless, the numbers matched what President Trump has been saying about the economy, particularly during his State of the Union address when he touted our financial strength as the reason prosperity is spreading to all Americans.
Non-farm payrolls surged 225,000 for the month, well above Wall Street estimates for a 158,000 gain. The unemployment rate ticked higher to 3.6%, but for the right reason as the labor force participation rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 63.4%, matching its highest level since June 2013. Average hourly earnings rose 3.1% over a year ago to $28.44, ahead of estimates for 3% growth.
“The report is unambiguously good,” said Ed Campbell, portfolio manager at QMA. “Strong growth and decent but not runaway wage growth should be good for stocks. Of course, we’ve had such a strong week, the markets are taking this in stride given how much we’ve been up so far.”
When the first month of an election year sees job expectations, which were already high, utterly obliterated by massive results, it’s the type of surge that bodes ill for the opposition party. The economy continues to improve. Onward to November!