The U.S. economy added 243,000 jobs in January, as the national jobless rate fell to a three-year low. The numbers, released on Friday morning, were likely the best news for Obama’s White House since Newt Gingrich won South Carolina.
With Americans heading to the ballot box in just nine months, a continued economic recovery will be key to Obama’s re-election bid. The New York Times’ Nate Silver suggested on Thursday the economy would need to add about 150,000 a month between now and next November for the president to have a solid re-election election chance.
It’s not an entirely rosy picture, however. Long-term unemployment remains intractable and the number of underemployed, scratching by with part-time work, continues to be alarmingly high.
In Canada, meanwhile, the economy added a mere 2,300 jobs last month as the unemployment rate edged up from 7.5 to 7.6 per cent. Job growth, robust only six months ago, has since slowed. The number of full-time jobs actually fell last month, with the slack being taken up by part-time work.
Problems may also loom in the housing market. The Economist warned on Friday that Canadians housing prices may not be sustainable, especially in Toronto and Vancouver. (To which Vancouverites, waking in their 7-figure bachelor condos, responded: “Poppycock!”)