USA added 313K jobs in February; unemployment still low

On March 7, payroll services firm ADP Inc. issued its monthly employment report, stating that nonfarm payroll employment rose by 235,000 jobs in February.


More modest wage growth cools fears about inflation and rising USA interest rates, both of which spooked the markets last month.

Wage growth is watched closely by the Fed as evidence of the labour market’s strength, and at 2.6 percent year over year remains “disappointing…”

“We were able to create enough new jobs to accommodate new seekers and keep the unemployment rate steady”, Ellen Zentner, chief USA economist at Morgan Stanley, told The New York Times. Retail payrolls jumped by 50,300, the largest increase since February 2016. President Donald Trump has said that the $1.5 trillion tax-cuts will spur economic growth and boost jobs and wages. US employers have also benefited from a strengthened global economy. That delighted investors: The Dow opened up 150 points.

The Fed is considered certain to raise rates when it next meets in two weeks.

“I would have expected to see more increases in wages, and frankly I do expect to see more increases in wages in the next year or so”, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told members of Congress last week. “Certainly to see more than 300,000 jobs added in a month in this point in the economic cycle is a stunner”.

The U.S. saw gains in sectors that the president has specifically targeted, including construction (+61,000), manufacturing (+31,000), and mining (+9,000)-which, until his election in 2016, were losing jobs.

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The government also revised up its estimate of job growth in December and January by a combined 54,000.

Hiring was strong across the board.

One measure that includes Americans in part-time jobs or still too discouraged to look for work held steady at 8.2% in February.

A growing supply of labor, in turn, helped keep the unemployment rate from falling further.

U.S. stocks rallied on the news, with the benchmark Dow Jones Industrial Average soaring more than 400 points to add 1.8 percent. The company is also paying 75 percent of employees’ health care costs, up from 50 percent.

Not all the news in Friday’s report was positive. The report found that, across industries, high-skilled roles would account for one-third of estimated job losses.

The move was denounced by top congressional leaders and drawing rebukes from industry, who said it could undermine the benefits of December’s sweeping tax cuts and spark a global trade war.


There have been some signs that price pressures are picking up. After a January uptick that spooked markets and seemed to portend a future of improving pay, wage growth in February sank back to the roughly 2.6 percent annual increase level that it has been mired in throughout the recovery. Wages rose 2.6% from a year earlier in February.

USA added 313K jobs in February; unemployment still low