If the economy is heading for recession, as many economists have been predicting and local governments have been fearing, the job market isn’t getting the memo.
The national economy added 517,000 jobs in January, and November and December totals were revised upward by 70,000, for a three-month total of 1.7 million jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 3.4 percent, its lowest level since a nine-month stretch at that same level between October 1968 and May 1969, when the Vietnam war was at its height.
The economy has added just shy of 5 million jobs in the last 12 months, continuing a historic performance since the recovery after the pandemic. Most job sectors grew, led by leisure and hospitality, which added 128,000 jobs, professional and business services (82,000), government (74,000) and health care (58,000).
As average mortgage rates have fallen back to around 6 percent, down from over 7 percent just last October, buyers have been returning to the home-buying market, though in Flagler County home sales continued their decline relative to a year ago, with a third fewer home sales closing in December compared to the previous year. The median time to a sale has surged back up to around 60 days, after spending over a year at below 20 days.
The economy grew at an annual rate of 2.9 percent in the final quarter of 2022, another sign that recession fears could be premature. Still, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday again raised interest rates, by a quarter of a point (to 4.75 percent).
Average hourly earnings rose 10 cents, to $33.03, a healthy jump, but still well below the rate of inflation when aggregated over the past 12 months: wages have increased only by 4.4 percent in that span, while the annualized rate of inflation ended at 6.5 percent in December.
It’s not all rosy. The number of workers employed part time for economic reasons, meaning that they couldn’t find full time work or their hours had been cut back, was at 4.1 million. Of those, 1 million couldn’t find full-time work, and the rest were victims of slack business conditions. An additional 22 million Americans are working part-time by choice, up from 20.2 million a year ago.
Those most likely to be unemployed remain those with less education. The unemployment rate for those with a college degree was 2 percent. It was 3.7 percent with those who only have a high school degree, and 4.5 percent with those lacking a high school diploma. Notably, the labor participation rate, at 62.4 percent–a figure that reflects all able-bodied workers 16 and over who are not in prison, disabled or retired– is below pre-pandemic levels of over 63 percent.
So while there are 266 million people who are 16 and over and not unable to work, 165.8 million are in the labor force, and 160.1 million had jobs. Those workers are essentially supporting the 100.1 million Americans–children, the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, the imprisoned–who are not working.
James Mejuto says
I hope our President sticks it to the GOP in his State of the Union address, Tuesday!
We have the lowest rate 3.4% unemployment since 1969 and hopefully getting better.
However, we see unemployment increases in those with no education, who have never finished H.S. which begs the question why families would allow any child not to finish H.S. I agree there must be people out there who want to work on cars, service
home repair and do manual labor in other areas but those are not legitimate reasons for not graduating.
Let’s hope Biden’s sane policies will awaken people to the good work he’s doing.
The Cult GOP party of course won’t acknowledge that President Biden had something to do with that because lets not forget they are the party of doom and gloom. The Cult party is all about what they do to make themselves richier and the middle class and poor poorer..
Ray W. says
Recent rise in egg prices? A particularly virulent form of avian flu virus has broken out twice this past year, forcing egg producers to cull their flocks twice to stop the spread. Egg producers don’t have the financial luxury of accepting the political argument that social distancing doesn’t work; they have decades of personal and corporate experience with what happens when one ignores the science. Unfortunately, this variant of the flu is also virulent among wild bird populations, so egg producers have difficulty socially distancing their birds both inside and out. Worse yet, there are several recorded incidences of transmission of variant into mammals, which has very rarely occurred in the past, though this form of virus has not yet found its way into the human population. The “Cult GOP” blames the Biden administration for the high egg prices, but that is only the gullible among us talking to hear their head roar. On top of that, grain prices, affected by widespread American drought in the mid- and upper northwest, coupled with the Russian war on the Ukraine, has directly caused prices for wheat, corn and other grains to rise, impacting costs to feed the young chicks as they age into prime egg laying status. As eggs prices are impacted by rising grain prices, so too are prices for various bread products. Blame climate change and Russia for the rise in pasta, bread and other grain-based products.
I am not arguing that inflation would not exist today. Quite the contrary. Some of the rises in egg and bread prices are due to Trump signing the first stimulus package and Biden signing the second stimulus package. After all, inflation doubled in the last nine months of the Trump administration and kept on rising during the first 18 months of the Biden administration. Since the second stimulus package didn’t occur for months after Biden was sworn into office, much of the inflation that occurred prior to that bill becoming law is directly due to the Trump era stimulus package. To be sure, at bottom, the disruption caused by the pandemic does not belong completely to either administration. Mistakes were made throughout the pandemic, some intentional, some accidental, some with malice aforethought, some with best intentions. But nothing can change the fact that the Republican-controlled Senate passed the first stimulus package 96-0 and Trump signed the package into law. That statute may have saved our economy from greater damage, but it carried its own costs. The goal of any stimulus package is to heat the economy artificially, but hopefully not too much. If the economy overheats, the Fed raises borrowing rates to cool the economy. Once the pandemic hit, the question was never whether to stimulate the economy; stimulus was a given. The question was how much should the economy be heated? Most economic historians are of a consensus that the stimulus package signed into law by W and implemented by Obama was too small; to them a larger stimulus package would have accelerated the American economy back to full health one to two years sooner than it did, but the political will just wasn’t there for a larger stimulus package.
Perhaps many FlaglerLive readers have noticed the recent drop in beef prices. Cattle ranchers, faced with tight profit margins due to the rising feed prices, again prompted by drought and war, culled their herds early so as to save as much money as possible by not having to feed normal-sized herds until they reach full weight. Beef industry articles predict a significant rise in beef prices once ranchers begin the slow attempt to restore their now-smaller herds back to full size. The “Cult GOP” will blame the Biden administration when beef prices rise, but that will only be the gullible among us who are just talking to hear their heads roar.
There is a difference between partisan rancor and zealous advocacy. One requires gullibility on the part of the uneducable to thrive. The other relies on intellectual rigor to survive.
Ray W. says
I wish to apologize to FlaglerLive readers for my failure to more thoroughly research the H5N1 avian flu variant. After I posted the above comment, I came across a NY Times article that undermined some of my comments and the author provided several more relevant details.
This year’s version of the avian flu virus, like most bird flu variants, settles deep in the lungs, not in the upper air tracts. For this reason, it is less transmissible to others via exhalation. I was accurate in commenting that it had transferred from birds and infected mammals, but I didn’t comment that minks, ferrets and pigs were the most common mammals affected by infection by avian flu. Yes, the transmitted virus still settles deeply in mammalian lungs, so retransmission after settling remains limited, but I was wrong to write that it had not transmitted to humans. Though rare, transmission into human lungs has occurred. The astounding fact was that, while human infection is rare, 56% of those known to have been infected with this form of the avian flu virus have died. Between 1-2% of those infected with SARS-Covid2 die, at least that was the number prior to vaccine availability, so the avian flu, while less virulent, appears to be far more deadly. Of course, any statistician will warn against drawing too much from an extremely limited sample size, so the numbers of mammalian infections, including human ones, will likely change if the avian flu persists among chickens, turkeys and wild birds for a significant additional period of time.
The Times author recounted a theory that makes sense to me. Given how SARS-Covid2 mutates so often into variants, it is reasonable to accept the argument that small genetic mutations or gene exchanges will continue to occur, which may create significantly different viruses. For example, if a pig farmer works around pigs while infected with different flu virus that both easily transmits between humans and lodges in the upper respiratory tract rather than deep in the lungs, and the farmer then interacts with a pig that has the avian flu variant lodged deep in the pig’s lungs, it is possible for the human flu virus to be transmitted into the lungs of the pig. If gene segments from each of the two different forms of the flu mix together in such a way as to create a more easily transmissible avian/human flu variant that lodges both in the upper and lower tracts of the pig’s lungs, this new variant could far more easily transmit from the pig back into the farmer’s lungs and then out into the human population at large. The author points out that it is well known that humans can carry two or more different variants of the flu at the same time.
Democrats Fix Things, Republicans Break Them says
And these brainwashed fools want to elect a Republican that will erase all those gains because they are too busy trying to become the new Nazi party fighting against all culture that doesn’t fit their perceived idea of normal. The scary LGBTQ, oooh how frightening. Books. BOOKS!!!!! OMG my eyes. Men in dresses, my heart, oh my heart. Women in pants, I’m melting, I’m seriously melting. Dear God will someone sue the pants off these jerks? It’s not 1800 and we are NOT going back.
Just remember, money talks and there are more people that do not want fascism than do, so support fascism, money losses will follow. People speak with their wallets. Apologies to all the Democrats and animals in FL but climate change cannot take this land fast enough.
Right Way says
OMG, you lefties actually believe Hiddin Biden helped put 1/2 million back to work. The people lost their jobs 2 years ago when Covid-19 struck America. And then Biden shut everything down. Now prices are so HIGH for Gas and Food, Housing, Insurance,etc the people who where out of work HAD to go back to work in order to feed their families……… Some taking 2 or 3 jobs. Its only going to get worse with inflation then depression. And Biden wants to take more taxes from you and your IRA’S and 401K’s.
Deborah Coffey says
Yes, we do believe the TRUTH from the same institution you liked to believe when the corrupt Trump was your president. And, unless you’re living in the top 1% economically, your statement about taking more taxes from IRAs and 401Ks is a blatant LIE. You guys can’t continue to post lies and you can’t have it ALL WAYS. Joe Biden is doing a stellar job as President of the United States. You guys LOST…in 2018, 2020, and 2022. Time to get over it and BE American. Credit where credit is due. Criticism when it is called for. But always, TRUTH.
When did Covid hit? 2020.
Who was president? Trump.
Who was president when everything shut down? Trump.
Who was president when so many people lost their jobs? Trump.
Who are you blaming all this on? Biden.
Makes perfect sense to me.
And that tax you mention only applies to those making over $400K per year. Quit spreading lies.
Denali, Trump the liar was in charge during the insurrection.
Michael Cocchiola says
Hey Right… I’m confused by your post. I can’t make any sense of it. President Biden didn’t “shout everything down”. Where did you come up with that?
Yes, prices are higher for lots of things. Any economist will tell you the two causes; (1), supply-chain blockages caused by the pandemic; and (2), higher employment causing the bidding up of prices – thus inflation. President Biden did help to increase employment, but now it’s the job of the FED to lower inflation.
And do you think it’s a bad thing that people had to go back to work? Haven’t extremist Republicans proposed the lowering of unemployment benefits to do just that? They have, you know.
Depression?? Where did you get that? No professional economist in the world is projecting a depression. A mild recession, perhaps, but not a depression.
And finally, when and where did President Biden propose to raise taxes on your IRAs and 401Ks? I can’t find anything on this. I do know that congressional Republicans are proposing “fixes” to Medicare and Social Security that include higher taxes and reduced benefits. Surely you read or watch the news and know this. But, maybe you just watch Fox and listen to Steve Bannon and don’t know anything… about anything!
Donald J Trump says
I was unemployed because of cheating during the last election, I won and still lost my job. The Courts as well as 8 million illegal and dead people did not help of effort. It was impossible for me to lose because of the help and support I received from China, Russia, hate groups and all of the people my campaign paid to subvert voters who where white Christian, bigoted and racists. Even the terrorists in Congress could not overcome the education of the patriotic well informed public. I will try harder in 2024 and I already have my staff looking at ways to turn America into the new Russia.
James Mejuto says
to the donald: Do we actually need this JERK giving us a rundown of his failings ineptitude?
Who gives-a-sh’t ?
Unbelievable how gullible dems are.
Ray W. says
Remember, Cathy, our founding fathers knew you would exist, that you would always exist. They hoped their liberal democratic Constitutional republic would foster the rise of men (and women) of virtue, but they greatly feared mob rule. They wrote checks and balances into our Constitution to protect us all from partisans like you.
By definition, our founding fathers understood that partisans were gullible, and that whatever the name of the party seeking power, be it Federalist, Whig, Democrat, Republican, Bull Moose, House of Trump, etc., the gullible would always be with us. You are gullible, I am gullible, some Democrats are gullible, some Republicans are gullible, and on and on. Only by the exercise of intellectual rigor can we extract ourselves from the ranks of the gullible. That you write that you find it unbelievable that people can be gullible, I suspect you will have a hard time extracting yourself from the ranks of the gullible. I read a recent comment by Jimbo99 that shows he is trying. I applaud that.
As I am fond of pointing out, a person can be right and wrong at the same time. You confirm that. Thank you.
Cathy if Dems are gullible, the Florida Government are demons from hell like daddy Trump.