The U.S. economy lost 2.8 million jobs jobs in January.

What?!

Don’t panic. The U.S. economy loses millions of jobs every January, in good times and bad, largely because tons of seasonal holiday jobs always wind down after Christmas.

So if you set aside the normal, seasonal stuff, how is the job market doing?

The wonks who write the jobs report can answer that! They look at the typical, seasonal things that happen every year, do some math, and come up with a seasonally adjusted number. This is the number that gets widely reported in the news. So:

The U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs last month, after accounting for normal seasonal fluctuations. That’s not great, but it’s not bad.

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