The choir of typically-cautious market analysts reviewing the new jobs report, in which unemployment fell to a three-year low of 8.5 percent, are positively glowing at signs the economy is growing at a fast-than-expected clip. The U.S. added 200,000 jobs in December, according to the Labor Department, dropping the unemployment rate to 8.5 percent, the lowest level since February 2009. Politically-speaking, some of President Obama's critics have a convenient explanation for the positive report. (On the campaign trail, Rick Santorum said the unemployment rate is dropping because of "optimisim that Republicans will take the White House" reports Politico's Dave Catanese). But market analysts aren't thinking about the immediate political ramifications. It's the numbers that matter.
"This is a good solid report, and the big message here is that 2011 was much better than 2010," Scot Melland, CEO of Dice Holdings, tells CNN Money. "We're headed in the right direction."
“You got the trifecta -- more people working, wages up and the average work week up,” Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group Inc., tells Bloomberg. “You can’t really argue that that isn’t a sign of significant improvement in the job market.”
“People were very much thinking that the sky was falling,” Tom Porcelli, an economist at RBC Capital Markets, tells The New York Times. “It’s no small victory that we’re up here, even with all these headwinds.”
“The tide is beginning to come back in,” James Glassman, senior economist at JP Morgan Chase & Co, told the radio show Bloomberg Surveillance. “We’ve got a long way to go. This is all positive, though, that we’re actually moving forward, and that’s an important trend.”