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
January's jobs number should have the Fed rethinking Bernanke's taper promise. Is it time for the real Janet Yellen to step up?Stephen Gandel, senior editor - Feb 7, 2014 11:14 AM 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
One of the signs of the weak economy may not be as worrisome as it looks.
FORTUNE -- The big news of Friday's jobs report? Things are looking ugly. Employers added just 74,000 workers in December, the lowest monthly growth in nearly three years.
But the other seemingly terrible news was this:
Takeaway: The economy is doing a better job of pushing people out of the labor force than it is of finding MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Jan 10, 2014 2:46 PM 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
With the shutdown and holiday hiring, it will be months before we can trust the jobs report again.
FORTUNE -- Employers added 148,000 to their payrolls in September, about 20% less than economists expected and the third smallest monthly increase in the past year. But the unemployment rate dropped to 7.2%, which is the lowest level in nearly five years. And the number of people actively looking for work was MOREStephen Gandel, senior editor - Oct 22, 2013 11:21 AM ET
It's hard to call the August job growth the "substantial improvement" the Fed was looking for to begin tapering. But maybe it was good enough.
FORTUNE -- On Wall Street, some investors trying to avoid higher interest rates were probably hoping the Labor Department would deliver bad news as they figure out what the Federal Reserve might do next. Whether or not they got their wish Friday will depend how the MORENin-Hai Tseng, Writer - Sep 6, 2013 11:57 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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