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Jobs Report Beats Estimates: Payrolls Added 313,000 Jobs in February

Topics: Current Events
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This morning’s jobs report from the Labor Department showed the addition of 313,000 jobs to non-farm payrolls last month, far exceeding economists’ forecasts of 200,000 jobs added.

The jobs tally was the highest since October 2015, and represented a record-setting 89 straight months of job gains, according to The New York Times. The unemployment rate remained steady at 4.1 percent.

Where Jobs Are Growing

Several industries added jobs last month, including:

  • Construction (+61,000)
  • Professional/Business Services (+50,000)
  • Retail Trade (+50,000)
  • Manufacturing (+31,000)
  • Financial Activities (+28,000)
  • Healthcare (+19,000)
  • Mining (+9,000)

Other industries were essentially flat in February, including leisure and hospitality, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information and government.

A Relatively Softer Month for Wages

The average workweek ticked up last month, increasing by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours, while wages grew more slowly than in previous months. Average hourly earnings for private-sector employees rose 4 cents to $26.75, after an increase of 7 cents in January. Year-over-year wage growth fell to 2.6 percent from 2.9 percent the previous month.

With unemployment at a 17-year low, the job market is trending in favor of employees — but the buying power of worker pay remains lower than before the recession. The PayScale Index, which measures the change in wages for employed U.S. workers, showed that real wages have declined 6.7 percent since 2006.

“Growth in worker pay has been modest during most of this expansion, especially relative to how tight the job market is running,” writes Sho Chandra at Bloomberg. “President Donald Trump has said the tax-cut legislation he signed in December will spur economic growth and boost jobs and wages. At the same time, his tariffs on steel and aluminum imports may become a headwind depending on how extensively they’re implemented and how other nations retaliate.”

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Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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