Wages grew by 3.4 percent previous year, the largest gain since 2009. The 20,000 non-farm payroll gain was well below economists' expectations, and followed an upwardly-revised 311,000 gain in January. Others have said the five-week government shutdown - which delayed release of the jobs data - also played a role in the January spike, as idled government employees who found other jobs temporarily may have been double-counted. Since President Trump was elected in November 2016, the US economy has created over 5 million jobs. Even as other parts of the US economy show signs of slowing down, the labor market has managed to stay strong. "And the correction now came in February with a bang, rather than spread out over various months".
CFRA Research Investment strategist Lindsey Bell, BMO Capital Markets chief investment strategist Brian Belski and Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management CEO Phil Blancato on the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book and the state of the US stock market.
The construction sector lost 31,000 jobs in February after an increase of 53,000 in January.
The hiring slowdown may weigh on first-quarter GDP calculations, threatening to take the shine off the economy's in the first quarter.
The average workweek was 34.4 hours in February, down from 34.5 a month earlier. "I think the big news, really, was that wages went up".
The growth in non-farm payroll jobs in February stood in stark contrast with the January number of 311,000, according to the report, which also said that the USA economy added an average of 223,000 new jobs per month in 2018. The dollar dropped against a basket of currencies. The longest shutdown in USA history ended on January 25.
Also, the state's unemployment rate revised down for every month in 2018 ranging from one-tenth of a percentage point to four-tenths of a point. The decline in the so-called U6 rate was the largest since the BLS launched the series in 1994. But if wage gains pick up speed, it could fuel concerns of inflation hawks at the central bank.
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A report on Thursday showed labor costs rising only 1.4 percent in 2018, the smallest gain since 2016, after increasing 2.2 percent in 2017.
According to the Labor Department, there was an increase of 198,000 in those not in the labor force, while, those unemployed dropped by 3000,000. They, however, say that source of labor supply is dwindling.
It was the worst month for job creation since September 2017, when two major hurricanes hit the employment market, offset somewhat by a solid increase in wages.
The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percent to 3.8 percent, the lowest level since October 2018 (and before that, April 2000).
ADP reported private sector employment increased by 183,000 jobs in February. Health care added 21,000 jobs and wholesale trade added 11,000 positions. Temporary help employment was up 2.2% y/y, with monthly job gains averaging approximately 5,600 over the past 12 months.
However, Michael Pearce, senior United States economist at Capital Economics, said: "The sharp slowdown in payroll employment growth in February provides further evidence that economic growth has slowed in the first quarter". Retail jobs fell by 6,100, while education and health services posted a meagre gain of 4,000.