“Add the recent government shutdown to the list of things that didn’t slow the American job market,” the New York Times (2/1, A1, Casselman) reported on its front page, as according to the Labor Department, the US economy “added 304,000 jobs in January,” although “unemployment ticked up to 4 percent” due to what the Times said was “possibly a shutdown-related anomaly.” The Times says the month’s gains were “far more than forecasters had anticipated.”

        The Washington Post (2/1, Long) reported, “there were a lot of gasps and ‘wow!’ exclamations when the U.S. Labor Department announced Friday that the economy added 304,000 jobs in January.” The Post added that this is “a massive number of hires and it occurred in a month when the federal government was partially shut down and hundreds of thousands of federal employees went without pay.” According to the Post, “Some of the best forecasters in the country had predicted job gains of about 170,000.”

        Reuters (2/1, Mutikani) said that the jobs numbers, “with employers hiring the most workers in 11 months, point...to underlying strength in the economy despite an uncertain outlook that has left the Federal Reserve wary about more interest rate hikes this year.” According to Reuters, “The brisk pace of hiring suggested still strong momentum in the economy, a theme that was also underscored by a separate report showing a pickup in manufacturing activity in January.”

        In a front-page article, the Washington Post (2/1, A1, Paquette) reported that “the U.S. private sector appeared to chug along at an especially healthy pace, and the country smashed through an important milestone: January was the 100th straight month of job growth since 2010.” The Post also noted that “the average worker’s hourly earnings climbed by 85 cents, or 3.2 percent since January 2018 – the same solid growth rate from December.” NEC Director Larry Kudlow was quoted as saying, “I think we’re in great shape right now. The USA is still the hottest economy in the world.” Reuters (2/1, Ahmann, Heavey) reported Kudlow in a Fox Business interview also “said he expects forecasts of three percent U.S. economic growth this year to hold” and “said that he did not see rising U.S. employment as increasing inflation.”

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