Whatever you believed last month, continue to believe it. The February jobs report did not have much news. The core story in the February report is likely the impact of bad weather on hours worked, no surprise to all of us with mental scars from days inside and snow drifts outside. Jobs were up surprisingly strongly — 175,000 — and average hourly earnings rose a sharp 4.5 percent (annual rate). Weekly earnings were flat because hours were down by 0.2 percent. Workers are making more per hour, but working less.
All conversations in Washington today will be driven by the February jobs numbers. We will wait to see if the cold freezes growth when the numbers are released later this morning. January’s numbers saw 113,000 jobs added and a slight change in unemployment. Douglas Holtz-Eakin has his preview below. Here is a quick recap of key economic indicators since last month’s report:
If you like your plan you can keep it, well at least until 2017. That is the announcement from the Obama administration late Wednesday after a November promise that Americans would be allowed to remain on health care plans set for elimination because they do not meet the Obamacare coverage standards.
The EPA released their final version of its Tier 3 fuel standards that would require further emission control measures in vehicles and reductions in the level of sulfur in gasoline. Though paired down from the proposed rule AAF reviewed a year ago, the final version is still a significant regulation with $14.5 billion in total costs and 158,617 paperwork hours. The states with vehicle manufacturing and refineries will be hit the hardest with this new rule. Read all the details by AAF’s Dan Goldbeck here.
AAF Hosted A Panel on the Budget with Maya MacGuineas, Bill Gale, Sudeep Reddy, and Doug Holtz-Eakin (February 27, 2014).
Why is the president, and soon-to-be Congress, in violation of federal law? Well as AAF’s Gordon Gray explains, “Section 300 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 provides a tidy schedule for lawmakers to go about establishing a budget for the federal government of the world’s largest economy. A close inspection of the key milestones that mark “budget season” reveal that they are rarely heeded.” In fact, Obama has only hit the deadline once in his tenure as president.
The American Action Forum (AAF) hosted an event to preview the Obama Administration’s 2015 budget and discuss the importance of fixing our nation’s fiscal health. Senator Rob Portman (OH), and former Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director, delivered the keynote remarks, followed by a question and answer session with AAF President Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
According to the Treasury Department, the United States will run out of borrowing room after February 27th, at which point it will have to rely on cash reserves, and then ultimately prioritization to pay its bills.
“U.S. workers are slowly getting a bit bolder. The percentage who voluntarily left their job—the nation's "quit rate"—hit 1.8% in November, the highest in the recovery and up from a low of 1.2% in September 2009, according to the Labor Department,” writes the Wall Street Journal this morning.
All eyes will be on the January jobs number when it comes out later this morning. In December, only 74,000 jobs were added but the unemployment rate from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent.