The December jobs report, out this morning, reported 148,000 new jobs in December while the unemployment rate stayed steady at 4.1 percent. The number of new jobs was below expectations (184,000 jobs) and below both October’s number (revised to 211,000) and November’s (revised to 252,000).
While this was a mediocre report, month-to-month numbers don’t tell us all that much. So let’s look at the year.
Unemployment went from 4.7 percent to 4.1 percent, a drop of 12.7 percent. Adult men’s unemployment dropped from 4.4 to 3.8 percent, a 13.6 percent drop. Women went from 4.3 to 3.7 percent. Black unemployment dropped from 7.4 percent to 6.8 percent, an 8.8 percent drop. Even teenage unemployment, facing the headwinds of rising minimum-wage rates, declined from 14.4 to 13.6 percent, a drop of 5.5 percent.
Long-term unemployment (those out of works for more than half a year) was down by 354,000, a drop of 19 percent. The number of part-timers who want to work full time declined to 639,000, a drop of 12 percent.
Wages, long stagnant, were up 2.5 percent in 2016 and the rise seems to be accelerating. GDP growth has been over 3 percent for the last two quarters. The stock market has soared (and continues to do so in 2018, with the Dow up 350 points in the first three trading days, blowing past 25,000 just 23 trading days after passing 24,000).
The January numbers will undoubtedly be adversely affected by the bitter cold in much of the country so far this month (it was 60 degrees in Key West yesterday while Charleston, South Carolina, had six inches of snow, an almost unheard of amount in that city, where it seldom snows at all).
So the first year of Donald Trump’s presidency has seen a solid improvement in the American economy and all signs point upward for the second year. It looks like a bad year only for the mainstream media and the Never Trumpers.