The new year got off to a roaring start in terms of job creation, with businesses adding 234,000 jobs in January, according to the payroll processor ADP.
CNBC reported that figure exceeded expectations, with economists looking for about 185,000 to be added during the first month of 2018.
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, said the strong January numbers bode well for the rest the year.
“The job market juggernaut marches on,” Zandi said in a statement in the ADP announcement.
“Given the strong January job gain, 2018 is on track to be the eighth consecutive year in which the economy creates over 2 million jobs,” he stated, adding, “If it falls short, it is likely because businesses can’t find workers to fill all the open job positions.”
The current unemployment rate is 4.1 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which Zandi believes could drop to 3.5 percent in 2018, given the current job growth rate.
The Atlanta Federal Reserve is projecting the overall economy to grow at 4.2 percent in the first quarter.
The Fed revised its GDP growth estimate up for the fourth quarter of 2017 from 3.92 to 3.98 percent.
During President Barack Obama’s entire eight years in office, the annual growth rate never topped 3 percent. During his final two quarters in office, the economy grew at a 1.6 percent rate.
President Donald Trump touted the economic accomplishments under his administration during his first State of the Union address, delivered before a joint session of Congress on Tuesday night.
“Since the election, we have created 2.4 million new jobs, including 200,000 new jobs in manufacturing alone,” he said. “After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.”
The president continued, “Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.”
Trump added that small business confidence is at an all-time high, and the stock market hit multiple records highs, gaining $8 trillion in value since his election.
The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times credited the massive cut in red tape under Trump with creating the current pro-growth business climate, which the Republican tax reform law passed last month only enhances.
The president encouraged Americans to seize the opportunity created by the thriving economy and pursue their dreams.
“This is our new American moment,” Trump stated. “There has never been a better time to start living the American dream,” he added.
He said, “So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.”
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