Headline RoundupFebruary 3rd, 2023

Unemployment Hits 53-year Low, Economy Adds 517k Jobs in January

AllSides Summary

The U.S. economy added 517,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate hit its lowest point in more than 50 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Details: Industries that gained the most jobs were leisure and hospitality (128,000), professional and business services (82,000), government employment (74,000), and health care (58,000). Unemployment was at 3.4%, its lowest rate since May 1969. The labor force participation rate rose slightly to 62.4%, but remains below its pre-COVID-19 pandemic level of 63.3%. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3%, and have increased by 4.4% in the last 12 months.

For Context: Economists cited across the political spectrum had expected the economy to add 185,000 jobs and for unemployment to rise slightly.

How the Media Covered It: Most headlines across the spectrum framed the news as a surprising but positive sign for the economy amid high inflation, rising interest rates, and recession fears. Center- and right-rated sources were more likely to highlight how stocks were trading lower after the jobs report and how some economists think the positive jobs number will encourage the Federal Reserve to continue raising interest rates. Fox Business's (Lean Right bias) homepage said Friday morning that job growth "unexpectedly surges as recession fears mount."

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