DULLES, VA - MAY 25: Pallets of baby formula are unloaded from a FedEx cargo plane upon arrival at Dulles International Airport on May 25, 2022 in Dulles, Virginia. More than 100 pallets of infant formula traveled from Ramstein Air Base in Germany to Washington Dulles International Airport. The mission is being executed to address an infant formula shortage caused by the closure of the largest U.S. formula manufacturing plant due to safety and contamination issues. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Is a recession coming? Look to corporate earnings
01:16 - Source: CNN Business
Minneapolis CNN  — 

The economy wasn’t supposed to add half a million jobs in January.

In fact, a consensus poll of 81 economists expected job gains to land at around 185,000, according to Refinitiv. After 11 months of aggressive rate hikes from the Federal Reserve, the experts were naturally expecting the economy’s job gains to slow as higher borrowing costs percolated through the economy, slowing investment and growth and pushing companies to pull back on spending and hiring.

And yet, even though it seemed impossible, the labor market is somehow getting tighter, said Rucha Vankudre, senior economist at business analytics firm Lightcast.

“I think pretty much all the labor economists in the country this morning are shocked,” Vankudre said Friday during a webinar after the jobs report was released. I think the question on everyone’s mind is, ‘How can the labor market keep getting stronger and stronger, and how can this keep happening while at the same time we are seeing prices com