As multiple sources reported, expectations for the first official jobs report of 2013 from the BLS were surprisingly accurate, as the overall economy added 157,000 jobs in January, as the chart from Steve Benen shows, below.
The unemployment rate held effectively steady, moving only a fraction of a point to 7.9%, but the numbers of both those Americans looking for work and those remaining employed held steady, in spite of the post-holiday period.
As Neil Irwin of Wonkblog pointed out, the sectors of the economy driving growth continued to be construction and retail, with professional and business services, health care, and education also showing solid gains.
Overall, private sector growth continued it's 35th month of positive growth.
Unfortunately, the public sector - government employment - also remained stubbornly consistent, losing 9,000 jobs.
As Benen also noted, the even better news is in the annual revisions of last year's jobs numbers, something the BLS does every January.
Not only were November and December's numbers both revised upward, but an additional 335,000 jobs were previously unaccounted for in 2012, meaning that 2.17 million jobs were created overall in 2012.
In fact, as Benen goes into deeply here, "2012 was the best year for jobs since 2005, and better than seven of the eight years Bush/Cheney was in office."
Economics reporter Sudeep Reddy, of the Wall Street Journal agrees, tweeting on Friday:
After revisions, average monthly job change in 2012: +181,000. 2011: +175k. 2010: +85k. 2009: -421k. 2008: -301k. 2007: +93k.— Sudeep Reddy (@Reddy) February 1, 2013
The numbers simply don't lie: The economy IS getting better and better.