BLS Jobs Report: 242000 Jobs Added, Unemployment Steady at 4.9 Percent
The job creation in the United States had increased dramatically in February, well above analyst's expectations and the unemployment rate remained stable, the lowest in eight years, according to figures from the Ministry of Labour published Friday. "Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons was down by a 0.6 percentage point at 831,000", the Bureau said. December and January's reports have now been revised with the Labor Department adding 30,000 jobs for the two months.
Economists said the strong jobs report will give the Federal Reserve something to consider as it decides later this month whether another rate increase is needed. A declining labor force participation rate had played a big role in the decline of the headline jobless number, but the gauge rose in February to 62.9 percent, its highest level since January 2015, as the civilian labor force increased by 555,000. While the January jobs report saw average hourly earnings rise 0.5 percent, February's report saw them slip by 0.1 percent. But it's worth asking why wage growth since 2010 hasn't been as robust as growth in previous recoveries. In fact, 78 percent of the jobs created were retail trade, teachers, bartenders and waiters that paid the minimum wage. "This report will get the Fed's attention, and raises the odds of another rate hike before too long", said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West in San Francisco. The almost 2.7 million workers who have been added over the past 12 months have bolstered spending on autos, housing and meals out.
The US unemployment rate was 4.9% in February, unchanged from January.
"The labor force picture is encouraging", O'Keefe said.
Retailers, restaurants, construction firms and health care providers - the core of consumer demand and vital fuel for economic growth - drove much of the hiring.
"With employment rising at a rapid pace and labour market slack still shrinking, we think the Fed will resume raising interest rates in June".
"Don't be taken in by the dip in hourly earnings; it just continues a very consistent pattern of undershooting in months when the payday for people paid [fortnightly] falls after the employment survey week".
And the amount of time people worked each week dropped 0.2 hours to 34.4 hours, the lowest level in two years.
"This is the second consecutive month we've seen the labor force grow with the strong economy", Michael Madowitz, an economist with the left-leaning Center for American Progress (CAP), said in an e-mailed statement.
Despite financial markets turbulence and economic weakness overseas, the strong job numbers in recent months suggest that the USA economy remains on track, according to Gad Levanon, managing director, economic outlook and labor markets at The Conference Board.