Why did we get a monster jobs report if the economy is slowing?

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.
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.
Spencer Platt/Getty ImagesInstead of lending credence to what was a bubbling belief in a soft landing, Friday’s jobs report only seems to beg more questions about not only the state of the economy, but also of the Federal Reserve’s attempts to hammer down high inflation.
The more moderate increase had been long telegraphed and came despite a hotter-than-expected December Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) report, which showed job openings grew to more than 11 million, or 1.9 available jobs for every job seeker.
Fed officials remain laser focused on wages and inflation, and are seeing some progress there, said Elizabeth Crofoot, Lightcast senior economist.
“I think [Fed officials] are going to say, ‘Let’s continue to keep our eye on the data,’ and they’re going to hold steady until they see that inflation rate come down,” Crofoot said.
The January jobs report shouldn’t trigger a wholesale change of what Fed members are thinking or what they were planning on doing before this report, Sarah House, senior economist at Wells Fargo, told CNN.
Strong labor market in a slowing economy?
The employment recovery since 2021 has been historically robust, with the monthly job gains larger than anything seen on record.
January’s jobs report came with added complexity, because it included annual updates to populations estimates and revisions to employer survey data.