February Jobs Report Comes in Huge: 313000 Jobs Added

February Jobs Report Comes in Huge: 313000 Jobs Added

Gains of more than 300,000 jobs happen fairly regularly, but the last time the country saw such a large gain while unemployment was so low - the rate remained at 4.1 percent for the fifth straight month - was during the economic boom of the 1990s.

"The headline number is pretty outstanding", says Cathy Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, a job recruitment site. Most of the growth took place in the industries of construction, retail trade, professional and business services, manufacturing, financial activities, and mining, according to the Department of Labor. Average hourly earnings rose 0.1 per cent from the previous month after a 0.3 per cent increase in January. However, wages are up 2.6% from a year earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported. Banks and financial institutions added 28,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent, missing the consensus target of 4.0 percent. But as stock investors correctly concluded last month, if wages start rising too fast given weak gains in worker productivity, it would probably prompt Mr. Powell and his colleagues to tap the brakes on the economy a little harder (that is, raise interest rates more than they would otherwise).

USA employers added 313,000 jobs in February, far surpassing expectations for an increase of 200,000 jobs after January's better-than-expected reading. Government employment was up by 26,000.

But there also were signs the hunger for increasingly scarce workers was causing companies to dig deeper into the labor pool.

Employees worked more hours last month, which also may have played a role in the wage numbers. That runs counter to economists' expectation for hiring to broadly ease as the labor market tightens.

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But judging from recent comments, at least, it seems unlikely that the Fed will pay heed to those arguments. That translated into 3.8 percent growth over the past 12 months, up from $867.30 in January 2017, which further illustrates the strength of the labor market right now. Many more people are working, including people who hadn't even been in the labor force.

Annually the report said that wages increased 2.6%.

Gene Peters, chief executive of Rosnet, a restaurant software company, has had to offer higher pay to attract new workers.

"It's getting more competitive in this market", Peters said.

That better-than-expected number adds to concerns that inflation may accelerate, and that the Federal Reserve could hike interest rate four times, rather than three, in 2018 - in turn slowing the economy and sending stocks down.

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