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The Media Cheers for Unemployment

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Above: The New York Times’ ideal of a labor market

The labor market is very good for workers right now. Unemployment is down to 3.4 percent as of the latest statistics and that’s very low. Is that good for the economy? If you think the economy should be measured by how well everyday people are doing, then yes. But if you are the New York Times or other elite publications primarily worried about corporate profit margins, then good hiring numbers are scary and a cause for alarm that capital must solve.

Still, the hefty hiring figures defied expectations and underscored the challenges facing the Federal Reserve, which is trying to cool the labor market in its effort to tame rapid inflation. By raising interest rates — on Wednesday, Fed officials did so for the eighth time in a year — policymakers hope to force businesses to pull back on their spending, including hiring.

Yet the labor market has remained extraordinarily tight. In addition to the report on Friday, the government released data this week showing that the number of posted jobs per available unemployed worker — a measure that policymakers have been watching closely — rose again in December. And despite a cavalcade of layoffs in the technology sector, the overall number of pink slips has stayed extremely low.

“So much for moderation,” said Beth Ann Bovino, the chief U.S. economist at S&P Global Ratings. “We certainly didn’t see it in this report.

The job growth was broad, including in some industries that economists had expected to show signs of slowing. Employers in leisure and hospitality, including restaurants and bars, brought on a bevy of workers.

The monthly jobs report is based on two surveys, one of households and one of employers.

The labor force participation rate was barely changed at 62.4 percent. Fed officials have been hoping to see an increase in the ranks of those available to work, which could alleviate the tightness in the labor market that is driving up wages and contributing to inflation.

Oh noes….INFLATION!!!!!! Better raise unemployment and enforce some poverty on the poors!

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