Set against a shaky global picture, U.S. economy looks sturdy

Set against a shaky global picture, U.S. economy looks sturdy
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In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo an employment sign hangs from a wooden fence on the property of a McDonald’s restaurant in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. On Friday, Feb. 1, the U.S. government issues the January jobs report, which will reveal the latest unemployment rate and number of jobs U.S. employers added. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File) WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy, well into its 10th year of growth, still has a spring in its step. And it’s all the more visible when set against a tiring global picture. A robust January jobs report on Friday showed that America’s companies are, for now, brushing off an array of economic perils and still hiring at a brisk pace. The risks that for months had induced hand-wringing among economists about a possible looming recession appear to have had little effect on employers. Overseas growth is stumbling, led by weakness in China, the world’s second-largest economy. Europe is hamstrung by a recession in Italy and the potential for an unruly Brexit. A trade war between the U.S. and China and higher U.S. mortgage rates, partly engineered by the Federal Reserve, remain threats. No matter. Employers added 304,000 jobs in January—the healthiest burst of hiring in nearly a year. The unemployment rate ticked up a notch to a still-low 4 percent. But that was mostly because thousands of furloughed federal workers were considered temporarily unemployed because of the partial government shutdown. That quirk should reverse itself this month. The solid jobs report and a separate survey […]

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