It’s never a good idea to take a single data point and extract from it. The latest federal jobs report is an example. Only 20,000 new jobs this month, the smallest number since September 2017, when hurricanes battered the country and a number of its territories, like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most people won’t be working when winds could lift them up and throw them, their car, and lord knows what else through the air. When floods pick buildings up from their foundations and carry them away and entire areas are devastated.
February job gains were particularly poor when compared to January’s 311,000. One reason that economists have offered is the difference in weather. January was relatively mild, allowing an unexpected expansion, even as so many were furloughed from the federal government during the shutdown. February, for those who forget too soon, was quite cold for much of the country.
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