From the NYT:
The government will provide its latest snapshot of the labor market on Friday, and economists expect it to show that January was another month of solid job growth.
Forecasters surveyed by MarketWatch expect the Labor Department to show that U.S. employers added 187,000 jobs last month, a moderate slowdown from December.
But the hiring number probably won’t tell the whole story. Economists and policymakers will also be watching the unemployment rate, labor force participation and hourly earnings. An increase in the ranks of those available to work could alleviate the tightness in the labor market that is driving up wages and contributing to inflation.
“The question is, will we continue to see a Goldilocks labor market?” said Betsey Stevenson, a professor of economics and public policy at the University of Michigan. “The Goldilocks labor market will be one where we continue to grow a little bit and wage pressure seems to subside a bit.”
Taken together, the numbers in the January report could help indicate the impact of the Federal Reserve’s efforts to cool the economy and tame rapid inflation. So far, the Fed’s rate increases appear to be gently constraining the labor market with limited pain for workers. But as high interest rates filter through the economy more deeply, a big question is whether policymakers can achieve their goals without causing significant job losses.