FORTUNE -- If it weren't for the cold and snow, February's jobs report would have registered as the strongest monthly gain in nearly four years. Adjusted for the weather, the economy added 468,000 jobs in February. (For how I calculated that, read this.) That would rank as the second-best monthly jobs gain since the end of the recession.
There has probably been too much talk about how the weather has held back the economy. But since this is probably (hopefully?) the last month worth talking about the jobs report and the weather together, let's talk about it.
The general consensus is that this year's colder and snowier weather is making the economy look a lot weaker than it is. Some people are predicting that the weather will knock as much as a full percentage point off GDP. The weather does seem to have made February's jobs report appear weaker than it actually was. The government's official number was 175,000, which was better than expected, but not by much.
But the weather also made January's jobs report seem significantly stronger than it actually was, to the tune of nearly 200,000 jobs. Take a six-month average, and weather-adjusted, the economy has added 206,000 jobs a month for the past half year. Compare that to an average of 177,000 a month according to the official numbers, just 29,000 jobs less.
That means the weather is slowing the economy, but not by that much. What's really slowing the economy? The weak economy.
The labor market is weak. Period.Stephen Gandel, senior editor - Feb 7, 2014 1:29 PM ET
Aren't there better things we can talk about other than the weather? Let's talk about it.Stephen Gandel, senior editor - Feb 6, 2014 2:07 PM ET
The U.S. workforce is shrinking, but that's not because Americans in their prime working years are dropping out.
FORTUNE -- Where have all the workers gone?
The U.S. labor force has dropped by six million. Workers began to disappear during the Great Recession, but it has continued even after the economy has improved. So what's going on?
One answer is demographics. Back in 2006, a paper from a number of Fed economists, predicted MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Jan 14, 2014 5:00 AM ET
Friday's disappointing jobs report raises the question of whether the Federal Reserve moved too quickly to reduce its bond-buying stimulus efforts.Nin-Hai Tseng, Writer - Jan 10, 2014 11:45 AM ET
November's jobs report shows the U.S. created slightly more middle-wage jobs and a bit fewer lower-wage gigs. But we're certainly not out of the woods yet.Nin-Hai Tseng, Writer - Dec 6, 2013 1:18 PM ET
Some worry that United States is destined to become a nation of part-timers, but a new report suggests that the growth in part-time work is only a temporary symptom of a slow economic recovery.Nin-Hai Tseng, Writer - Oct 9, 2013 10:47 AM ET
Even though the unemployment rate dropped in July, it's still a tough time to find work.Nin-Hai Tseng, Writer - Aug 2, 2013 12:18 PM ET
As the price of a four-year degree climbs, nearly half of university presidents in a new survey believe it hasn't become more valuable.
FORTUNE – Despite countless studies that show you're better off with a college degree than without one, only about half of presidents at U.S. universities believe a four-year bachelor's degree is worth more or a lot more in today's job market than it was five years ago, according MORENin-Hai Tseng, Writer - Jun 11, 2013 10:09 AM ET
The housing recovery and an increase in hours worked are among the factors lifting jobs numbers, but it's unclear if this growth can continue.
FORTUNE – After reaching record highs, U.S. markets have a few more reasons to celebrate Friday as the government released its monthly report on the state of the jobs market. In February, the economy added 236,000 jobs, which helped lower the unemployment rate to 7.7% from 7.8% MORENin-Hai Tseng, Writer - Mar 8, 2013 12:02 PM ET
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