JPow Swipes Right on American Employment
I'd love to say bittersweet was the word of the day following Friday's jobs report, but to Mr. Market, the slowdown in hiring was anything but bitter. Just sweet.
The US economy added 223,000 jobs in December, well above the 202,000 guesstimated by economists. At the same time, revisions brought the number of job additions in the prior two months down by a total of 28,000.
With that, we can take a grand look back at 2022 in its entirety. Overall, we added 4.5mn jobs last year, averaging 375,000 new hires per month. That's basically the equivalent of adding the entire populations of LA and Boston into the job market in a single year, the second highest ever behind only 2021 (where 6.6mn jobs were added).
To paraphrase the Flex Seal guy, that's a lotta jobs! And as you smart, attractive, loyal readers of the Peel know, adding an excessive number of jobs has, for the past few months, made Mr. Market sad because they know JPow is terrified of Americans having livelihoods.
But fr, this report was fairly solid in a few different ways.
First, 223,000 jobs added is a pretty stellar number by historical standards. Americans are still having a relatively easy time finding jobs, a good sign for long-term consumer spending and credit trends.
Second, 223,000 is a slowdown in job growth from previous periods. Taking the opposite view of the above paragraph, a slowdown in hiring is exactly what JPow and the gang want to see in order to chill out with the meteoric rate hikes.
But, with unemployment actually falling back to 3.5% while the labor force participation rate remained at 62.3%, the market for jobs is still undeniably tight.
It's just that now instead of being as tight as that green shirt Zelensky always wears, we may be seeing some breathing room start to emerge.
The real stickler of the report came a little bit farther down, so if you didn't read past the first two paragraphs as 99.99% of people, you might've missed it. But you know I got you.
Average hourly earnings of non-supervisory employees (basically non-managers) continued to increase for the period, albeit at a slower rate of just 0.2% month-over-month. That right there is exactly what JPow dreams about seeing.
Rising earnings is good because…obviously. But rising too fast triggers wage-push inflation, the very beast that's been driving insane price increases over the last year and a half. Compared to last year, wages rose by 4.6%, settling at $32.82/hr.
Long story short, the age-old struggle between capital and labor is alive and well. 2022 was a rare year where labor absolutely and utterly dominated capital like a sadistic bully, but if 2023 is like the last decade, capital could be returning to the throne soon.
Architecto quia fugiat ducimus ab. Vitae alias totam voluptatem quia est impedit est. Et deserunt est nostrum blanditiis quasi cum eveniet recusandae.
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