Friday’s labor-market report showed that the number of full-time U.S. jobs as a share of total employment rose to 81.7 percent, the highest level since November 2008. For those worried (including not a few presidential candidates) that this economic recovery has been one that’s created only low-quality jobs, this should be really good news.
At the same time, the number of employees on the payrolls of temporary work services also fell, declining 8,900, the report showed. All of these statistics combine to paint a picture of a “shift to full-time work,” economists led by Derek Holt at Scotiabank in Toronto wrote in a note to clients.
The rest of the details of the jobs report were also solid. Overall, payrolls climbed by 215,000 in July and the unemployment rate held at a seven-year low of 5.3 percent.
1. The private sector has added 11.2 million jobs over 58 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 252,000 in December, mainly reflecting a 240,000 increase in private employment. Private-sector job growth was revised up for October and November by a combined 50,000 so that over the past three months, private-sector job growth has averaged 280,000 per month. Private employment has risen by at least 200,000 for 11 consecutive months, the first time that has happened since the 1990s.
2. Total employment rose by 2.95 million in 2014, the most in any calendar year since 1999. Private-sector employers added 2.86 million jobs last year, the strongest private-sector job growth in any calendar year since 1997. The pace of overall job growth has increased, averaging 246,000 per month in 2014, up from 194,000 per month last year. On a percentage basis, the economy is adding jobs at a rate of about 2 percent per year, also on pace for the largest percentage increase in any calendar year since the late 1990s. Crucially, the pickup in the pace of job growth in 2014 has primarily been in industries with higher wages. For instance, the pace of manufacturing job growth has more than doubled to 16,000 per month this year, from 7,000 per month last year, and average weekly earnings for manufacturing workers are about $170 higher than for all private-sector workers. As discussed in greater detail below (see point #4), overall real average earnings have generally been growing, but there is more work to be done to raise wages and address longer-standing challenges around family incomes.
DEFINITION OF ‘WAGE PUSH INFLATION’
A general increase in the cost of goods that is preceded by and results from an increase in wages. In order to maintain corporate profits after an increase in wages, employers must increase the prices they charge for the goods and services they provide. The overall increased cost of goods and services has a negative effect on the wage increase, and eventually, higher wages will be again needed to compensate for the increased prices for consumer goods.
The number of people working two jobs for economic reasons dropped by 118,000 in December
11:00: VP Biden delivers remarks in Rochester, N.H.
1:00: PBO delivers remarks at UPS Las Vegas South.
3:05: PBO departs Las Vegas en route to Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
4:35: PBO arrives at Buckley Air Force Base, Colo.
5:30: PBO delivers remarks.
AP: The number of people seeking unemployment benefits rose last week to a seasonally adjusted 377,000, up from a nearly four-year low the previous week. But the longer-term trend is pointing to a healthier job market.
Applications have trended down over the past few months. The four week average has declined to 377,500. When applications fall consistently below 375,000, it tends to signal that hiring is strong enough to lower the unemployment rate. Some economists say the figures suggest further job gains ahead…..
Reuters: New orders for manufactured goods rose in December and a gauge of future business investment rebounded, while new claims for jobless benefits rose only moderately last week, suggesting the labor market was still healing.
Durable goods orders climbed 3.0 percent, the Commerce Department said on Thursday. Economists had forecast orders rising 2.0 percent …. Orders last month were buoyed by 5.5 percent increase in bookings for transportation equipment as orders for civilian aircraft surged 18.9 percent….
“What it does tell you about going into the new year is that there’s some momentum here,” said Jacob Oubina, an economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.
Ed Kilgore (Washington Monthly): As Paul and Steve announced yesterday, I am taking on the daunting task of succeeding Mr. Benen at Political Animal. I read every single comment following Steve’s announcement of his new gig, and am awe-struck by the devotion he has inspired from a very well-informed readership.
1:45: PBO attends a campaign event at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington.
5:30: PBO and Michelle Obama host the Tuskegee Airmen, along with cast and crew members of the movie “Red Tails,” for a screening at the White House.
* Michelle Obama this morning joins the cast of Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” at a special screening of “iMeet The First Lady” in Alexandria, Va.
Washington Post: President Obama will ask Congress on Friday for the power to shrink the federal government, proposing a first step of combining several trade and commerce agencies under a plan that the White House said could eliminate more than 1,000 jobs and save $3 billion over 10 years.
A senior administration official cast the announcement, which Obama will make during an 11:20 a.m. White House appearance, as follow-through on the president’s promise during last year’s State of the Union address to create a leaner, more efficient bureaucracy.
CBS Philly: Vice President Joe Biden is coming to the Philadelphia area Friday morning to speak to high school students in Bucks County about the cost of college and what the Obama Administration is doing to make it more affordable.
Biden and Deputy Secretary of Education Tony Miller will speak to students at Central Bucks West High School in Doylestown. Even though students have finals next week, class schedules are being adjusted to give students a chance to take part in what could be a chance of a lifetime.
CBS: On the eve of a Texas meeting of prominent social conservatives and evangelical Christians to discuss the state of the Republican presidential race, one invitee is worrying that a Mitt Romney nomination would be “John McCain all over again.”
Dick Bott, founder and chairman of Christian Radio’s Bott Radio Network, says he would vote for the former Massachusetts governor against President Obama, but that “people just won’t care.”
“Why on earth give other things [like volunteering time or donations] for someone you think is a bit of sham?” says Bott, who would not confirm he will be attending this weekend’s summit. “All of a sudden there’s a conservative movement that is being spoon-fed by Republican establishment leaders.”
Steve Benen: ….. I don’t think we need any special insights to see the line Gingrich is pushing here. The disgraced former House Speaker, in advance of the South Carolina primary, wants Republican voters to think there’s something wrong with being bilingual, especially if the other language is French.
I have no idea if this will work, but the fact that “he speaks French” is considered a potentially potent attack in Republican politics in the 21st century is just sad.
LA Times: As Mitt Romney defends his record running a private equity firm, he frequently points to a fast-growing Indiana steel company, financed in part by Bain Capital, that now employs 6,000 workers.
What Romney doesn’t mention is that Steel Dynamics also received generous tax breaks and other subsidies provided by the state of Indiana and the residents of DeKalb County, where the company’s first mill was built.
The story of Bain and Steel Dynamics illustrates how Romney, during his business career, made avid use of public-private partnerships, something that many conservatives consider to be “corporate welfare.” It is a commitment that carried over into his term as governor of Massachusetts, when he offered similar incentives to lure businesses to his state.
Yet as he seeks the GOP presidential nomination, he emphasizes government’s adverse effects on economic growth