Hiring surge adds 313K jobs in February, most since July 2016

Andre KleinMar 10, 2018

Retail and business services tied for second place in terms of job growth, trailing only the construction industry, which added 61,000 new positions. The agency reported that the US economy added 313,000 jobs in February, marking the country's 89th consecutive month of job growth.

Last month's expected moderation is seen lowering the year-on-year increase in average hourly earnings to 2.8 percent from 2.9 percent in January, the largest rise since June 2009. "There's one really big story here, and that's the average hourly earnings", said Jonathan Golub, chief USA equity strategist at Credit Suisse. That kept the nation's unemployment rate unchanged for a fifth straight month at 4.1 percent.

For example, more Americans are coming off the sidelines and looking for work, reversing a trend from the first few years after the downturn when numerous unemployed gave up on the job hunt and stopped looking.

The construction industry unemployment rate, which is available only on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, increased by half a percentage point in February and stands at 7.8 percent.

The unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent, missing the consensus target of 4.0 percent.

Slow wage growth, however, could temper expectations that the Fed will change its rate forecast to four hikes this year from three. The participation rate increased to 63 percent, the highest since September, from 62.7 percent the prior month, the biggest monthly gain since 2010.

The Labor Department released its latest hiring and unemployment figures Friday morning, providing one of the better snapshots of the state of the US economy.

The 313,000 jobs that the nation added in February are far more than are needed to keep up with population growth and continue a surprising burst of job creation to start the year.

The unemployment rate for black men is the lowest it has been since December 1973.

The January year-over-year wage increase originally was reported as 2.9 percent, an uptick that fueled fears of higher inflation. But January's figure was revised one-tenth of a point lower to 2.8 percent.

Civilian labor force increased by 806k in February.

London's jobless rate was 5.9%, down from 6% posted a month ago. More specifically, jobs in oil and gas extraction (which fall under the mining categorization) increased by 1,100. Another office space driver, financial activities, added 28,000 jobs over the month, and 143,000 during the last 12 months.

In contrast, there was declining employment in February in the plastics and rubber products (down 2,000), chemicals (down 1,100), textile product mills (down 700), textile mills (down 200) and apparel (down 100).

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