The economy added 313000 jobs in February, beating forecasts


Job seekers filled out employment applications during a career fair in Jeffersonville, Ind., in September.

United States employers added 313,000 jobs in February, the biggest monthly increase since July 2016, according to the latest data from businesses and government agencies collected by the Labor Department. That runs counter to economists' expectation for hiring to broadly ease as the labor market tightens.

February was the strongest month for USA job growth since July of 2016, when the nation's economy added 325,000 jobs. Hiring in the first two months of 2018 is outpacing 2017's average monthly growth of 182,000.

Wages increased just 0.1 percent month-over-month in February, missing the consensus target of 0.2 percent.

The unemployment rate stayed at 4.1%, the lowest in 17 years.

Meanwhile, in the Stockton-Lodi market the unemployment rate was 7.0 percent in January, up from a revised 6.4 percent in December of 2016.

People working part-time for economic reasons rose by 171,000 to 5.16 million.

The second most important number investors will be watching is the unemployment rate, now at 4.1%.

Andy Kiersz  Business Insider
Andy Kiersz Business Insider

People came back to the labour force last month, a sign of confidence in the jobs market.

Wall Street has been particularly focused on wage growth as an indicator of which story is more compelling - and more to the point, which story the Fed chairman Jerome Powell and his colleagues at the Fed will find more persuasive.

Friday's market reaction stood in stark contrast to last month, when the Dow plunged 666 points on the release of January's job figures, which showed wages growing at their fastest pace since 2009. "Today's report shows that average hourly earnings significantly increased in February and have increased by 2.6 percent over the past year".

Top officials are hoping the move of workers off the sidelines and into jobs will mean more output and income for the US without wage and inflation pressures becoming so intense that central bank decides it must to hit the brakes on economic growth.

Investors welcomed the prospect of continued strong job growth and low interest rates.

Key Takeaways: Manufacturing employment rose by a whopping 31,000 in February, with the sector continuing to add net new jobs at a solid pace and with average weekly earnings for production workers up 3.8 percent year-over-year.

The U.S. economy added 239,000 jobs in January. Employment in the manufacturing sector, which is supported by strong domestic and worldwide demand as well as a weaker dollar, rose by 31,000. The news led to a sell-off on stock markets as investors bet that the Federal Reserve would move more quickly to raise rates.

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