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Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The economy added 304,000 jobs in January — significantly more than the 170,000 economists were expecting —while the unemployment rate ticked higher to 4.0% from 3.9%, reflecting the impact of the government shutdown, the Labor Department said on Friday.

Why it matters: With the highest labor force participation rate in 6 years, the job market continues to defy expectations that the economy is approaching full employment. January marked a record 100th straight month of job gains.

Economists expect the unemployment rate, which rose since furloughed federal employees were counted as unemployed, to tick back down as those employees return to work (granted the government doesn't shut down again).

The details:

  • Wages rose 3.2% year-over-year in January, falling from the revised 3.3% growth in December.
  • December's blockbuster report was revised lower to 222,000 from 312,000, while November's report was revised higher by 20,000 jobs to 196,000.
  • The number of workers who worked part-time for economic reasons rose to 5.1 million from 4.6%, which may reflect how some furloughed workers coped with delayed pay from the government shutdown.

Go deeper

How "naked ballots" could upend mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Trump signs in Olyphant, Penn. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

Commission releases topics for first presidential debate

Moderator Chris Wallace. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has selected what topics he'll cover while moderating the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week.

What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jay Powell bump elbows before House hearing on Tuesday. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

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