January’s change in nonfarm payrolls came in below expectations, but still positive versus December. Payrolls grew by 49K, significantly ahead of last month’s revised 227K decline, but short of the 105K expected gain. Adding to the disappointing news were negative revisions for both December and November. Unexpected weakness in manufacturing and construction didn’t help the figures and may start to question the handful of resilient areas of the recovery thus far. The unemployment rate improved to 6.3%, from 6.7%, due to the small gains as well as more people leaving the workforce.
Talks are continuing on Biden’s $1.9T stimulus proposal with Congress undertaking negotiations while the possibility of passing it via budget reconciliation, to avoid the filibuster, are also ongoing. The Senate approved a budget plan for the legislation, the first step in the reconciliation process, while the House is preparing to advance the bill. Latest reports of the focus of negotiations centered around the income limits for those who would receive the direct aid portion of the bill, rather than a reduction in the individual assistance size, which seemed to be the focus of the opposition last week.
GameStop news started to fizzle somewhat with the stock quickly coming back down from the moon to just high Earth orbit, closing Friday at $63.77 at nearly 3.4x from $18.84, where it ended 2020.