Reuters: A surge in hiring in the world’s largest economy last month drove the Nasdaq to an 11-year high on Friday as optimism grew that the labor market is on a steady path to recovery.
The broad-based gains on solid trading volume also sent the Dow Jones industrial average near a four-year high….
The U.S. economy created jobs at the fastest pace in nine months in January and the unemployment rate dropped to nearly a three-year low of 8.3 percent, the government said.
“It is really hard to find something not to like in the jobs report,” said Andrew Goldberg, market strategist at JP Morgan Funds in New York. “There is genuine strength in this report with broad-based jobs creation.”
President Obama thanks Lt. Jacob Johnson, an Arlington County firefighter and U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq, for introducing him at Fire Station #5 in Arlington, Virginia
President Barack Obama poses for a picture with people in the audience following his remarks on the Veterans Job Corps at Fire Station #5 in Arlington, Va., Feb. 3, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
NYT: The comeback from bankruptcy at Chrysler hit a milestone Wednesday when the smallest of the Detroit automakers reported a $183 million profit for last year, its first full year of positive earnings since 2005.
…. Last year’s results show how far Chrysler has come since 2009, when it was taken over by Fiat as part of the bailout engineered by the Obama administration.
Its revenue for the year increased 31 percent to $55 billion, and worldwide sales of its cars and trucks grew 22 percent to 1.85 million vehicles. In the United States, its market share increased to 10.5 percent, up from 9.2 percent a year earlier.
WMUR: A new poll shows that the improving economy has also raised President Barack Obama’s standing in New Hampshire.
….Obama has seen his job approval rating nearly flip from the last Granite State Poll in October, with 51 percent now saying they like the job the president is doing, compared to 43 percent who don’t. Just 41 percent said they approved in October.
…. Obama’s improved fortunes are also reflected in head-to-head matchups against the Republican field in New Hampshire. In hypothetical matchups, Obama leads Mitt Romney by 10 points, Ron Paul by eight points, and trounces Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum by 25 and 21 points respectively.
Robert Shrum: …. So it’s Romney in 2012, despite glaring weaknesses revealed in the primaries, from his animatronic awkwardness to his plutocratic profile. The latter has been a product not just of attacks from his opponents — and the attacks will be unremitting in the general election — but of gaffes that are in reality self-revelations of his actual character and conviction. When he slips the confines of his canned answers, when an off-message moment or question deflects him from toeing his adviser’s carefully formulated tropes, he tends to shift from Ken Doll to Gordon Gekko.
…. For other candidates, the verbal miscue is an episode; for him, it’s an epidemic – offering $10,000 bets, saying foreclosures should run their course, claiming he feared getting a pink slip, explaining that $400,000 isn’t much money, announcing that he likes to fire people. (And at that, Romney has had a lot of practice.) He blithered about releasing his tax returns, then released only two years — and will face intensifying scrutiny about off-shore tax havens and whether he paid any tax, or almost none, in years we haven’t seen, like 2008 and 2009.
….Romney not only looks like the face of the Republican establishment; by his own words and deeds, he has become the face of unfairness in America, a profile in numbness and indifference.