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.
But other data suggest that the real estate market is finally cooling off.Christopher Matthews - Feb 25, 2014 10:58 AM ET
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
Sick of lame weather-related excuses? Miami's real estate agents have just the antidote.
The Miami Association of Realtors actually attributed a rare bit of good housing news to the bad weather that swept the nation in December.
House sales in the nation's 42nd-biggest city rose 23% from a year ago in the fourth quarter to 4,710 houses and condos, the group said, thanks in large part to the "harsh winter" prevailing elsewhere.
Blaming the weather is a time-honored MOREColin Barr - Feb 10, 2011 3:07 PM ET
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