: U.S. labor market displays ‘faint heartbeat’ — economists react to January jobs report

United States

The U.S. added 49,000 jobs in January and downward revisions to the prior two months subtracted an additional 159,000 from payrolls.

Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal had expected a 55,000 gain.

See: U.S. just gains 49,000 in January with labor market still under acute stress

Below are some initial reactions from analysts and economists as U.S. stocks DJIA, +0.30% SPX, +0.32% trade higher after the data.

  • “As the economy passed the worst of the third COVID wave, and vaccine optimism took hold, the labor market displayed a faint heartbeat.” – Gregory Daco, chief U.S. economist at Oxford Economics.
  • “We need to move towards a more normal environment. And the only way that seems likely to do that is vaccines. I don’t see how we’re going to get a sustained acceleration in hiring. We’re never going to get all those people back to work until feel broadly, across the country, taking their families out to dinner, going on vacation, things like that.” – Drew Matus, chief market strategist for MetLife Investment Management.
  • “It shows we’re still struggling. The economy is stalled at this point in time. The last three unemployment numbers have been disappointing. I hope it represents a bottom as the vaccines are rolled out. And I think it puts a lot more impetus on the fiscal package from the Biden administration.” – David Norris, head of U.S. credit at TwentyFour Asset Management