Jobs Added In February, Unemployment Steady At 4.1 Percent

  • Jobs Added In February, Unemployment Steady At 4.1 Percent

Jobs Added In February, Unemployment Steady At 4.1 Percent

The national economy added 15,400 net new jobs in February edging the Canadian unemployment rate down to 5.8% from 5.9% in January.

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate held steady at 4.8 percent in January, the Department of Labor & Industry said Friday.

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had expected 205,000 new jobs and a 4.0% unemployment rate.

Financial sector payrolls increased by 28,000 last month, the most since October 2005. White unemployment was 3.7 percent. Wages increased by a fraction of a percentage point, too, though that growth came at a slower pace than last month.

The number of people that have given up looking for jobs, so-called discouraged workers, declined 149,000 from the same month a year ago.

The public sector gained 26,000, with hiring added in education and at the state government level.

The surge of job gains likely reflects burgeoning confidence among businesses that the Trump administration's tax cuts will accelerate growth. US employers have also benefited from a strengthened global economy. The proportion of people in their prime working years (25 to 54) who are working is at its highest level since 2008. The bull market reached its ninth anniversary Friday, with market indexes almost quadrupling since March 2009.

Most people want to see worker wages move higher.

The Labor Department says wage gains, meanwhile, fell from the previous month to 2.6 percent year-over-year growth. A bigger question is whether central bank officials maintain projections for a total of three quarter-point hikes this year, or boost the outlook to four. "We saw a flood of job seekers into the market". The rate has been in long-term decline for several reasons, including Baby Boomers retiring.

For the 12 months that ended February 28, wages increased 2.6 percent.

Economists have found that figure is closely related to wage growth: The higher it rises, the more employers have to offer higher pay to find the workers they need. The data on wages is a little better than that number would suggest despite the softness in the year-over-year data.

Growth in construction and retail added to February's strong numbers with construction adding 61,000 and retail 50,000. Still, that is the biggest gain for construction since 2007. Manufacturing had a strong month, adding 31,000 jobs. The broader economy is also showing unusual resilience: Its expansion since the Great Recession ended almost nine years ago is the third-longest on record. Heavy and civil engineering companies also posted gains.

But it offered "a false picture of a "Goldilocks" economy" for financial markets, she said in a research note.

Trump broke with the leaders of his own Republican Party this week, announcing steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.