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.
Fewer Americans are working because of flawed government policies, rather than residual effects of the Great Recession.
By Brett House and Pierre Yared
FORTUNE -- Many Americans still aren't working. Friday's monthly jobs report for February is better than most expected. On a deeper level, however, it underscores a lot of what we've seen in previous months: An ever-smaller share of able-bodied, working-age Americans have jobs. The 2008 financial crisis dented demand MOREMar 7, 2014 8:45 AM ET
Paying workers more could lift nearly 1 million out of poverty, but low-skilled workers need more than that to thrive in today's job market.
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FORTUNE -- Over the years, economists have produced countless studies either supporting or disputing the wisdom of raising the minimum wage. And last week's report by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office added to the growing body of research: An increase from $7.25 to $10.10 MOREFeb 25, 2014 10:23 AM ET
As employers stop considering the long-term unemployed, those still in the game have gained salary negotiating power.Christopher Matthews - Feb 14, 2014 9:38 AM ET
The labor market is weak. Period.Stephen Gandel, senior editor - Feb 7, 2014 1:29 PM ET
Friday's report on January's state of the labor market is beyond mixed. It's of declining relevance.
By Mohamed A. El-Erian
FORTUNE -- I normally go on TV on employment Friday just after the monthly data release. I did not do so today; and it turned out to be a good thing as this morning's report was particularly complex in terms of content and implications. No wonder the initial interpretations and market MOREFeb 7, 2014 1:19 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
America's jobless tend to blame themselves rather than "the system," leading them to stop looking.
By Ofer Sharone
FORTUNE – As the release of January's jobs report will likely remind us on Friday, unemployment is a double whammy for white-collar American workers. In addition to experiencing financial stress, many unemployed workers end up fearing that something is deeply wrong with them.
I interviewed more than 170 white-collar job seekers in the U.S. and MOREFeb 4, 2014 10:35 AM ET
More than four years after the Great Recession, the economy is healing. And it could only get better.
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FORTUNE -- If I had written a title for President Obama's State of the Union address this week, it would be called "America Rising." When he leaves office in 2017, the U.S. will have experienced a period of critical economic recovery. By the end of 2016, Fannie Mae estimates the MOREJan 31, 2014 3:07 PM ET
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