Sweet Jobs Report: 313000 Jobs Added in February

Reuters  Mike Blake

Reuters Mike Blake

US employers went on a hiring binge in February, adding 313,000 jobs, the most in any month since July 2016, and drawing hundreds of thousands of people into the job market. The Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs in February, beating expectations by 100K.

David Kelly, the chief global strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management: "The February employment report was positive all round, showing booming job growth and muted wages and a strong economy with still some room to run".

The unemployment rate remained steady even though more workers joined the job hunt, lifting the labor force participation rate up to 63 percent. Overall, employment rose in construction, retail trade, professional and business services, manufacturing, financial activities, and mining.

Last month average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by a meager $0.04 to $26.75, after a 7-cent uptick in January.

While the signs of stronger wage growth have been welcomed by workers, they have fueled inflation worries on Wall Street and speculation that the Fed might raise rates at least four times this year, rather than the three increases expected. Wages increased by a fraction of a percentage point, too, though that growth came at a slower pace than last month. February also marked the 89th consecutive month of job gains, the longest streak since the Labor Department began keeping track in the 1940s.

Revised figures show employers added 239,000 jobs in January and 175,000 in December, a net upward revision of 54,000. Experts were anticipating the USA economy to have added somewhere in the ballpark of 200,000 jobs last month.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls rising by 200,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate falling to 4.0 percent.

It turns out that this is due to the way the jobs numbers are gathered and how the days of the week fell this year during a short month.

The February jobs report beat expectations, boosting markets and confirming that the US economy remains strong. January saw 200,000 workers added to US firms, paired with earnings' growth of 2.9 percent, appreciably above the 2.5 percent seen over the course of 2017.

The largest gain in more than a decade in construction jobs, up 61,000, let the growth sectors.

Manufacturing totaled 12.614 million jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in February, which is up from 12.583 million in January 2018.

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