Trump’s policies are working for workers
The latest expectation-shattering jobs report isn’t a fluke. It’s another sign that President Donald Trump’s economic policies are improving the lives of middle-class families.
The 304,000 gain in jobs in January reported by the Labor Department was nearly twice the consensus estimate. And it comes after December’s big gains.
The jobs picture is so strong that it’s pulling people in who’ve been sitting on the sidelines.
In fact, for the first time in more than 20 years, the number of people who are out of the labor force — those without jobs and not looking — shrank by 647,000 over the past 12 months. So many people are returning to the labor force that the official unemployment rate is going up, even as the job market booms.
This comes, mind you, at a time when baby boomers are retiring en masse. Under President Barack Obama, in contrast, the number of labor force dropouts exploded by 14.4 million.
Job growth is accelerating, nearly 10 years after the last recession ended. Job creation averaged 179,000 a month in 2017, and 223,000 last year. In the past four months, it’s averaged 250,000. Last year, the economy created 1.3 million more jobs than mainstream economists expected.
To say this is unusual so late in an economic expansion — and while the Fed is busy tamping growth with rate hikes — is an understatement. Job growth typically explodes in the first few years after a recession, as the economy reabsorbs displaced workers while creating jobs for new labor force entrants. Then growth tends to slow.
The Labor Department also reported that private sector wages and salaries climbed 3 percent last year — the biggest annual increase in a decade. Under Mr. Obama, private sector wage gains averaged just 2 percent.
Why now, this late in the game?
The answer is simple.
For eight years, Mr. Obama kept promising “bottom-up growth,” while telling the country that tax cuts and deregulation would benefit only the rich. But his policies — Dodd-Frank, Obamacare, higher taxes, a regulatory tsunami — produced economic stagnation. As it always does, that stagnation hurt the working class most.
Mr. Trump went in the opposite direction. His pro-growth tax cuts, deregulatory campaign and pro-energy policies fueled huge increases in economic optimism and turbocharged the economy. And now we’re seeing real job growth and strong wage gains for the first time in more than a decade.
You tell us which approach is proving to be more worker friendly.