Saturday, 23 March, 2019

United States economy only added 20,000 jobs in February, wages continue to rise

Pittsburgh veterans job fair meet with recruiters at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. On Friday March 8 the U.S. government issues the February jobs report which will reveal the latest unemployment rate February jobs report—What to know in markets Friday
Priscilla Morrison | 10 March, 2019, 22:58

Even with February's anemic gain, job growth over the past three months has averaged a solid 186,000, enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. Job growth will slow this year as the economy begins to moderate.

And it supports what Powell on Friday called the Federal Reserve's "patient, wait-and-see approach to considering any adjustment in the stance of policy". The low number - a major drop from the 311,000 new jobs in January and the weakest growth since September 2017 - is expected to reignite concerns over a potential economic slowdown in 2019. That's a noticeable pickup from January's year-over-year gain of 3.1 percent.

The US economy remains close to full employment, but the expansion of non-farm payrolls was far below the expectations of economists, who had been forecasting 175,000 new jobs.

The state Department of Labor (DOL) said Friday that an annual revision conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that CT only added about 10,000 jobs past year, or almost half of what was originally estimated.

The average work week decreased to 34.4 hours from 34.5 hours in the prior month; a shorter workweek boosts average hourly pay.

A stock market selloff and jump in US Treasury yields in late 2018 were also likely factors.

Nationally, though, the sluggish hiring and job cuts in February were widespread across industries.

Pittsburgh veterans job fair meet with recruiters at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. On Friday March 8 the U.S. government issues the February jobs report which will reveal the latest unemployment rate

Leisure and Hospitality gained 4,000 (+1.1%) jobs over the month.

Job creation has been a particularly strong suit for the economy. Retail sales, homebuilding, business spending and exports all declined in December, setting the economy on a slower growth path. The longest shutdown in United States history ended on January 25. Average hourly earnings for production and non-supervisory workers accelerated to a 3.5 per cent annual gain.

According to CNBC, economists had been expecting a wage increase of 3.2 percent. But if wage gains pick up speed, it could fuel concerns of inflation hawks at the central bank.

CT has more than 1.6 million seasonally adjusted jobs as the state's private sector experienced job gains in five of its 10 major industry supersectors.

Economists say employers have kept hiring at a strong pace despite low unemployment as more people returned to the labor force, including students, women and people who had dropped out to collect disability benefits.

Some of the weakness could be chalked up to winter weather, as construction jobs fell by 31,000. The near-flatlining of job creation in February weighs strongly on the side of the Fed not raising interest rates any further in the coming months, as policymakers wait to see if February's employment falter is just a blip, or the beginning of a more significant and sustained downturn in job creation.

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