White House Braces For Dismal January Jobs Report

Gage Skidmore Flickr

The White House is preparing to deliver a disappointing January jobs report by hoping to preemptively dampen expectations. The January jobs report is likely to fare poorly in comparison with other months because it coincides with the omicron variant’s spike.

The Washington Examiner reports:

Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, tried to preempt the news during an appearance on MSNBC. He told viewers that Friday’s numbers might be “confusing” because the jobs report can count people who are out sick and not collecting pay as unemployed when in reality, they still have jobs.

“We expect that that will have an impact on the numbers,” Deese said Tuesday. “We never put too much weight on any individual month; this will particularly be true in this month because of the likely effect of the short-term absences from omicron.”

Forecasters are split over just how bad the Friday report will be. The consensus expectation is hovering at about just 150,000 nonfarm payroll jobs added, although Capital Economics predicts that jobs may have actually fallen by 200,000 last month.

On Wednesday, payroll processing firm ADP said that private payrolls fell by more than 300,000 in January — much worse than anticipated and a harbinger for Friday’s report.

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that almost 9 million people were out of work at some point last month because of the pandemic.


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