United States added 313K jobs in February; unemployment still low

10 March, 2018, 01:28 | Author: Martin Tyler
  • Solano unemployment climbs in January

In the strongest showing since July 2016, the unemployment rate in the United States remained low in February as US employers added 313,000 jobs to the economy.

The number of jobs added exploded passed estimates. The Labor Department said the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent, unchanged for the fifth straight month.

Hourly wages gained 0.2 percent in the month, matching analyst expectations but putting compensation up 2.6 percent over the same month past year - ahead of consumer inflation of 2.1 percent. The number of job seekers has stabilized in recent years, but last month showed a slight 0.3 percent increase from January. "This will not be lost among a FOMC that leans hawkish in 2018 and points towards an increasing probability that the central bank will hike rates four times this year".

The average work week rose by 0.1 hours to 34.5 hours.

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Industry employment for the most part has increased steadily the last year-and-a-half, thanks in large part to the uptick in drilling activity in hot shale plays like the Permian.

Manufacturing payrolls are also expected to have gained 15,000 jobs, with robust domestic and worldwide demand, as well as a weaker dollar bolstering the sector. Payrolls in January were revised to 239,000 from 200,000. Construction added 61,000 jobs.

USA manufacturing added 32,000 jobs in February, primarily in durable goods, while non-durable goods decreased by 1000 jobs last month.

Those rates in January 2017 were 5.0 percent in California and 4.9 percent nationally, the Employment Development Department reports.

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"In a nutshell, the tax cuts are already boosting hiring, but as long as it's not causing wages to accelerate or the unemployment rate to drop, why worry?" The participation rate, which reflects people who are working or looking for a job, registered its best one-month gain in almost eight years and is at 63%.

Wage figures were the biggest focus for investors ahead of this report as an acceleration in wage gains is seen as portending an increase in inflation, which could prompt the Federal Reserve to raise rates more aggressively than markets expect. But the revisions to the initial numbers for December and January were both good.

The picture cast by Friday's jobs report offered a mixed one for the Federal Reserve, which is seeking to raise short-term interest rates at just the right pace: Enough to forestall inflation but not so fast as to slow economic growth.

The US labour market continued to strengthen in February, but wage pressures eased. Retail trade employment rose by 50,300.

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