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Brooks applauds 304,000 new jobs in January

Congressman Mo Brooks speaking on the House floor.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Alabama) praised the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics January jobs report on Friday.

“On the plus side, the economy produced 304,000 new jobs in January and 2.2 million new jobs over the past year,” Brooks said in a statement. “Both are excellent numbers. Similarly, the monthly labor participation rate improved from 63.1 percent to 63.2 percent, with a very good .5 percentage point annual improvement. Notably, January marks an all-time record 100th straight month of job growth. This record streak began in October 2010 and is more than twice as long as the second best 48-month streak that ended in June 1990.”

“On the troubling side, America’s unemployment rate increased for the second month in a row, from 3.9 percent to 4 percent,” Brooks said. “November’s unemployment rate was a much better 3.7 percent. The apparent conflict in strong job creation with improving labor participation rate data but with a worsening unemployment rate is likely attributable to more Americans entering the work force and seeking jobs coupled with a continued surge in illegal aliens taking jobs from American families.”

“Thankfully, wage growth, albeit relatively weak, continued in January,” Brooks continued. “Average hourly non-farm worker wages rose by three cents, to $27.56 per hour, seven cents less than December’s strong 10-cent hourly improvement but still a healthy 85 cents an hour better than a year ago.”

Brooks warned against dramatic economic policy changes.

“So far, Democrat’s threatened 70 percent tax rates, massively unaffordable ‘Medicare-for-All’ Socialized healthcare system, and the job-killing ‘Green New Deal’ have not significantly damaged America’s economy because the Republican Senate and White House are bulwarks preventing their passage, but employers and job creators are surely watching to see what radical job killing Socialist policies House Socialist Democrats and Socialist Democrat presidential candidates propose in the coming months,” Brooks said. “The open question is whether America’s education system has enabled the voting public to understand how bad Socialism is and how free enterprise has been instrumental in making America the greatest and most prosperous nation in world history.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics America’s economy added 304,000 new, non-farm payroll jobs in January 2019. The labor participation rate climbed to 63.2 percent. America’s January unemployment rate is at 4.0 percent. The White House attributed the slight uptick in the inflation rate to the hundreds of thousands of government workers affected by the partial government shutdown. Over the past year, the average weekly earnings for all non-farm American workers increased by 85 cents (to $27.56/hour).

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The White House was jubilant with the information that the economy gained 304,000 jobs, despite the partial government shutdown and the end of the Christmas shopping season, surpassing expectations.

“We added 304,000 jobs, which was a shocker to a lot of people,” said President Donald J. Trump. “It wasn’t a shocker to me.”

America’s economy continues its streak of job gains. January 2019 marks the 16th month in a row with employment growth of at least 100,000 new jobs.

Numerous sectors experienced job growth in January, including mining and logging (7,000 jobs), transportation and warehousing (27,000), construction (52,000), education and health services (55,000) and leisure and hospitality (74,000).

The U.S. economy has added 4.9 million jobs since January 2017 and 5.3 million jobs since Trump was elected in November 2016.

The employment cost index, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases quarterly, showed a 3.1 percent gain in the wages and salaries component in the fourth quarter of 2018. That’s up from 2.9 percent in the third quarter and tied for the biggest gain since the third quarter of 2008, right before the onset of the Great Recession.

Overall, the employment cost index, which also includes benefits costs, rose 2.9 percent for the quarter, which also tied the highest level since the third quarter of 2008.

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The Federal Reserve Board voted not to raise interest rates in January. A statement released Wednesday after this week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting indicated that “market-based measures of inflation compensation have moved lower in recent months” though “survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed.”

A household survey released by BLS shows that the labor force participation rate for prime-age adults, ages 25-54, increased by 0.3 percentage points to 82.6 percent. The last time it was this high was April 2010.

The stock market boomed in January after a volatile fourth quarter that saw stocks slide following all-time highs in September.

The S&P 500 index lost 9.6 percent of its value in December, the worst December performance since 1931. The S&P 500 climbed back in January gaining 7.9 percent despite the partial government shutdown. This was the best January for the index since 1987. The S&P 500 has gained 15 percent since Dec. 26. The Dow Jones showed similar gains, closing January a fraction of a point below 25,000 after closing December at 23,327.

Brooks is serving his fifth term representing Alabama’s Fifth Congressional District.

Original reporting by CNBC and the Wallstreet Journal contributed to this report.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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