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On The Money: Economy adds 225K jobs in January, far beyond expectations | Appeals court rules Democrats can't sue Trump over emoluments claims | Democrats decide against reintroducing earmarks

Happy Friday and welcome back to On The Money. I’m Sylvan Lane, and here’s your nightly guide to everything affecting your bills, bank account and bottom line.

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THE BIG DEAL—Economy adds 225K jobs in January, far beyond expectations: The U.S. added 225,000 jobs in January as a decline in trade tensions and mild winter weather boosted a resilient labor market, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  • The January jobs gain was far beyond the projections of economists, who expected the U.S. to add between 150,000 and 160,000 workers. 
  • The unemployment rate ticked higher, to 3.6 percent, as the labor force participation rate rose by 0.2 percent, to 63.4.

I break down the report here.

In a nutshell: The blowout jobs report reinforced the strength and resilience of the U.S. economy amid a global slowdown, the toll of Trump’s tariffs and daunting foreign conflicts. The surprising gain also gives Trump another example to tout on the campaign trail as he seeks to clinch a second presidential term with a strong economy.


The downsides: 

  • The report also included revisions to 2019’s figures that shaved roughly 514,000 off of last year’s total jobs gain. The economy also came close to breaking a record stretch of job gains in February only adding 1,000 jobs, according to revised figures.
  • Employment in manufacturing and mining continued to stagnate despite Trump’s promises to revive those industries. The manufacturing sector lost 12,000 jobs in January, almost entirely in the auto sector.
  • Wage growth also ticked higher to 3.1 percent on an annualized basis, increasing from December but below the pace economists consider necessary to keep up with rising health care, education and housing costs.


What the experts think: 

  • “The strength in hiring is misleading…Favorable weather juiced job growth in January and that is visible in weather-sensitive industries, which include construction, leisure/hospitality and retail.”  — Ryan Sweet, director of real-time economics at Moody’s Analytics.
  • “Look for slower job gains as the boost created by mild weather dissipates and the blow to travel and tourism from the coronavirus shows up in the February data.” — Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton.
  • “The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6 percent, but it’s still near a 50-year low. Taken together, the first report of 2020 is a healthy one…” — Daniel Zhao, senior economist at Glassdoor.



Appeals court rules Democrats can’t sue Trump over emoluments claims: A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., threw out a lawsuit accusing President Trump of illegally profiting off his private businesses while in office, ruling that the Democratic lawmakers who brought the suit lack legal standing.

A three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday did not rule on whether the president was violating the Constitution by profiting off foreign governments’ spending at his hotels. 

Why? The judges unanimously said in a brief 12-page decision that the dispute centering around the Constitution’s emoluments clauses has no place in the court system.

“The Members can, and likely will, continue to use their weighty voices to make their case to the American people, their colleagues in the Congress and the President himself, all of whom are free to engage that argument as they see fit,” the judges wrote. “But we will not—indeed we cannot—participate in this debate.”

The Hill’s Harper Neidig explains the decision here

The turning point: The unanimous D.C. Circuit panel said in its decision that the members lacked standing because they did not comprise a majority of either the Senate or House when they filed the lawsuit and therefore did not represent either chamber.

How Trump reacted: “It just came out a few minutes ago, so I’ll be reading it on the helicopter but it was a total win,” Trump told reporters Friday. “It was another phony case and we won it three to nothing. We won it unanimously.”

What comes next: It’s unclear at the moment whether the Democratic lawmakers will appeal the decision, but a decision is also expected from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in a similar lawsuit brought by the Democratic attorneys general for D.C. and Maryland. 

The Second Circuit last year revived another emoluments case against the president brought by the liberal group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

But for now, the decision is a major win for Trump, who unlike every recent president has refused to relinquish control over his business assets by placing them in a blind trust. 

Democrats decide against reintroducing earmarks: House Democrats have decided to scrap discussions of reintroducing limited earmarks for fiscal 2021 spending measures but said they will seek a path forward for the following year’s appropriations bills.

House Democrats have decided to scrap discussions of reintroducing limited earmarks for fiscal 2021 spending measures but said they will seek a path forward for the following year’s appropriations bills. 

“While a tight timeframe means the Appropriations Committee will not include community projects in fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, there is near-unanimous support in the Democratic Caucus for launching community project funding in the 117th Congress,” a House Democratic aide said in a statement Friday. 

The Hill’s Niv Elis fills us in here.



  • The House on Friday passed legislation to provide Puerto Rico with $4.7 billion in emergency aid to help the island recover from the devastation caused by recent earthquakes and damage that remains from hurricanes Maria and Irma despite a veto threat from President Trump. 
  • Secret Service personnel traveling with President Trump to his private luxury properties in Palm Beach, Fla., and Bedminster, N.J., pay rates as high at $650 per night for lodging, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post.w
  • The bipartisan leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee on Friday released their legislation to protect patients from getting massive, surprise medical bills as congressional action on the subject intensifies.
  • Politico: “Banks, fintech startups clash over ‘the new oil’ — your data”
  • The Peterson Institute for International Economics: “The US-China currency deal will provoke new trade tensions”
  • The New York Times: “After a decade of stagnation, black and African-American workers have seen pay increase. One man’s story shows the hope — and limitations — with that shift.”




  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the House Financial Services Committee, 10 a.m.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing entitled “The Disappearing Corporate Income Tax,” 10 a.m.



  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the Senate Banking Committee, 10 a.m.
  • The House Budget Committee holds a hearing on President Trump’s fiscal 2021 budget with Acting Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Russell Vought, 10 a.m.
  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on diversity and inclusion at major U.S. banks, 10 a.m.
  • The House Financial Services Task Force on Artificial Intelligence holds a hearing on reducing algorithmic bias in the financial industry, 2 p.m. 



  • The Senate Banking Committee holds a confirmation hearing for Judy Shelton and Christopher Waller’s nominations to the Fed board of governors, and Jesse Liu’s nomination to be Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, 10 a.m.


Recap this week with On The Money:

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