Far exceeding expectations, the U.S. economy created nearly half a million jobs last month despite the Omicron wave, the Labor Department reported on Friday, while wages continued to rise rapidly. The surprisingly strong employment report for January confirmed that the U.S. economy entered 2022 with a great deal of momentum—and it provided the Biden Administration with an unexpected political lift.
Because of the surge in Omicron cases at the start of the year, many Wall Street economists had been warning that the January jobs figure could be a weak one. On Thursday, Goldman Sachs predicted that the employment report would show a decline of two hundred and fifty-thousand jobs. Members of the White House economics team did some damage limitation in advance: earlier this week, they pointed out that the survey that determines the payroll figure was carried out at the peak of the Omicron wave. These worries turned out to be misplaced….