A Modified, Limited Good Jobs Report

Updated Jan. 5, 2024 7:03 pm ET

It’s an election year, so every economic report is going to be filtered through the lens of political benefit. President Biden thus celebrated Friday’s Labor Department report that employers added a solid 216,000 jobs in December, but below the top line there are signs of a softening labor market. The question is whether government spending can sustain the job growth amid a weakening economy and business investment.

The unemployment rate last month held steady at 3.7%, but the labor force participation rate (62.5) and employment to population ratio (60.1) both fell by an unusually large 0.3 percentage points.

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