<html> <head><style type ="text/css">body { font-family: "Bloomberg Prop Unicode I", Verdana, sans-serif; font-size:125%; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; color: #FF9F0F; background-color: #000000; text-align: left; } p {line-height: 1.25em; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" );} h1, h2, h3 { text-align: left; font-weight: normal; color: #FFFFFF; } h1 { font-size: 130%; } h2 { font-size: 115%; } h3 { font-size: 100%; } #bb-style { font-size: 90%; max-width:900px; width:expression(document.body.clientWidth > 900? "900px": "auto" ); } b, strong { font-weight: bold; } i, em { color: #FEC54A; } pre { font-family: "Andale Mono", "Monaco", "Lucida Console"; letter-spacing: -0.3pt; line-height: 1.25em; } table { border: 0; font-size: 90%; width: 100%; margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; } td, tr { text-align: left; } td.numeric { text-align: right; } a:link { color:#53B2F5; text-decoration: none; } a:visited {color:#53B2F5} a:active {color:#53B2F5} a:hover {color:#53B2F5} </style> </head> <body> <p>By Caroline Baum</p> <p>Cancel the double dip. Think twice about more quantitative easing. And that forecast for 0 percent interest rates as far as the eye can see? The Fed might want to think twice about carving it in stone.</p> <p>While it's always a mistake to read too much into any one economic number, today's<a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-03/payrolls-in-u-s-jumped-243-000-in-january-unemployment-rate-drops-to-8-3-.html"> employment report </a>for January delivered welcome news across the board, ratifying the trend evident in weekly jobless claims.</p> <p>A few key stats:</p> <p>-- 243,000 non-farm jobs created last month, of which 257,000 were in the private sector;</p> <p>-- a 0.2 percentage point decline in the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent, for the right reason (both the labor force and employment rose);</p> <p>-- a 4-cent jump in average hourly earnings;</p> <p>-- a 0.3 percentage point increase in the factory workweek to 41.9 hours, the highest since January 1998. If that large, fourth-quarter inventory build was involuntary, no one seems to have told the plant manager just yet.</p> <p>Benchmark revisions to the establishment survey added 165,000 jobs to the March 2011 level. Revisions to November and December turned up an additional 60,000 jobs.</p> <p>Private-sector job gains were broad-based last month, led by professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing. Almost two-thirds of the 266 industries added jobs, and 69.1 percent of manufacturing industries, close to the 14-year high from January 2011.</p> <p>Today's report doesn't ensure smooth sailing for the U.S. Housing remains depressed, and long-term unemployment is still uncomfortably high. But it seems fair to say that structural problems -- looming fiscal imbalances -- will supplant cyclical weakness as the No. 1 policy concern facing Washington. That's a discomfiting thought.</p> <p>(Caroline Baum is a Bloomberg View columnist.)</p> <p> </p> </body> </html>