The jobs market appears to be making the slow and steady move back towards some semblance of normality. Job losses totaled 20,000 for January and the unemployment rate declined to 9.7%.
Revisions to past months were substantial with the November report being revised upward to 64K gains and the December report being revised down to -150K. As you can see in the table below the job losses in past months were substantially worse than previously thought:
The brightest sign in the report is another positive reading in temporary workers at 52K. This is on the back of last month’s 59K. This could be a harbinger of permanent future hiring.
All in all, this looks like a pretty good report. The decline in the UE rate is a positive sign and the pick-up in temp working still leads me to believe we will see job growth early this year. Markets should retrace some of yesterday’s overreaction a bit. Unfortunately, this report does nothing to clarify the uncertainty regarding the major market risks at present: China, Eurozone debt and regulatory changes.