The economy is still growing at a robust clip, but the government’s statistics have become less precise and the unemployment rate remains elevated.
Here’s a rundown of the big stories shaping the news cycle right now.
The unemployment rate fell for the fourth consecutive month in December, hitting 5.1% in December.
That was the lowest rate since March 2011.
It’s not the lowest since January 2011, and it’s not even the lowest it’s been since August 2016, when the U.S. government began keeping monthly data on joblessness.
The drop in the unemployment figure is more of a reflection of a healthier economy than any new administration announcement.
But it still represents a slight increase over the 4.3% unemployment rate in December 2016.
The economy added 223,000 jobs last month, according to the Commerce Department.
That’s the most since April 2009, when there were 207,000 new jobs added.
That would have been a bigger increase than in November 2016, which was the month President Donald Trump’s reelection bid came to a close.
But this is the second month in a row that the unemployment number has dipped below 200,000.
That number peaked at 5.5 million jobs in October.
There’s been a lot of talk about whether or not the economy has finally hit a tipping point and is heading for recession.
Economists have been warning for some time that the economy’s continued expansion is being driven by the weak labor market and the fact that many Americans are not in the labor force at all.
But that’s not necessarily the case.
Economies have been growing for some years now, and a drop in labor force participation is nothing new.
But the unemployment numbers are so important that they’re also making headlines.
The number of Americans without jobs, which is the main metric for how the economy is doing, dropped below 6 million last month.
That figure is the lowest level since November 2016 when there was 6.5.
That means the number of people without jobs is down about 3.7 million from the month before.
The jobless rate dipped to 4.2% in November.
That is the first time it’s dipped below 4%.
Economists had predicted that the jobless number would hit 4% by January, and the government has continued to report it at 4%.
But the number has now dropped below 4% for a fifth consecutive month.
The trend has continued into the New Year, with the unemployment drop being just as strong in January as it was in November and December.
The U.K. recorded its first monthly gain in employment in December with 5,000 more jobs than in December 2017.
The British government had been counting on December to be a bit of a recovery season, and that was reflected in the job growth number, but December is actually the worst month for the economy in the country since the start of the Great Recession.
The labor market has been recovering, but not nearly fast enough for employers to absorb all of the new jobs.
In fact, the number is down nearly 20,000 from the same month a year ago, the year before the Great Crash.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to a record high of 23,000 for the first day of trading on Friday, breaking its all-time high.
That came as the market continued to bounce back from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.
The S&P 500 also rose, with both companies and sectors posting record highs.
The Nasdaq also rallied, rising by more than 400 points.
But stocks fell in the U and Europe as well, and in Japan.
Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq have all lost ground in the past 12 months.
The jobs report came out Friday, so the Fed will soon begin announcing its quarterly monetary policy statement.
This will be the most important economic update since the election, as the economy will be coming to grips with what to do about the job market and inflation.
Inflation has fallen for the fifth straight month, which means the Fed is likely to raise interest rates in the coming months.
It will likely also raise the federal funds rate by a few more cents per dollar.
The Fed has said it’s expecting inflation to grow by 1.7% in the fourth quarter.
Trump is expected to deliver a major economic speech on Tuesday, and on Wednesday he will sign an executive order that would lower taxes and expand infrastructure spending.
The economic news has also been dominated by reports that President Trump has asked the IRS to release details of his tax returns, which he has said would provide a glimpse at how he makes his money.
He has also reportedly asked the Treasury Department to investigate potential conflicts of interest at his business empire, which could have significant financial implications.
China has been struggling to recover from a devastating ice storm that hit the nation on Tuesday.
The ice has been a major issue in the presidential race, with Democratic front-runner Hillary