Trump Effect: 313000 new jobs in February blowing out expectations

10 March, 2018, 00:39 | Author: Terri Saunders
  • Chicago President Charles Evans participates in a moderated discussion in Zurich Switzerland

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

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the manufacturing industry added 31,000 jobs in February. The gaudier "2" in front of the payroll jobs number didn't reflect quite enough growth in the employed population to edge the unemployment rate down to 4 percent.

The department said African-American unemployment fell to 6.9 percent, after rising to 7.7 percent in January.

Construction firms added 61,000 workers, the biggest increase in almost 11 years for the sector. Hiring picked up at retailers, manufacturers and local governments, including schools.

"We've seen the labor force participation rate go sideways now for four straight years, and that is actually a big gain against what is a downward trend due to aging and other things", Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told members of Congress last week.

Job creation in the U.S. economy surged last month, but the annual rate of wage growth slowed.

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February's gains included an increase of 61,000 construction jobs - the biggest rise since 2007. Banks and financial institutions added 28,000 jobs. Within the industry, employment rose in transportation equipment by 8200 jobs, which includes motor vehicles and parts (up 6200), fabricated metal products (up 5900), machinery (up 5600) and primary metals (up 3700). But the decline in wage growth dampened concerns about inflation, along with "the concern that we're about to enter a rapid hiking cycle", Bartholomew said. It then takes a few weeks to sort through all the raw survey results and get the published job numbers.

Analysts have also said no one should call this economy a late cycle.

The employment report suggested the economy remained strong despite weak consumer spending, home sales, industrial production and a wider trade deficit in January that prompted economists to lower their growth estimates for the first quarter.

While the unemployment rate dropped during the Obama administration, critics pointed to another number that was falling: the labor force participation rate, a measure of the number of people who were actually working or looking for work.

Markets likely will react badly to a further rise in wage growth, especially if pay gains reach 3%, according to Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group.

Jobs grew 175,000 in December, 239,000 in January and 313,000 in February demonstrating a healthy and growing economy.

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