Non-Farm-Payrolls increased 236,000 in February ahead of Wall Street expectations of 165,000. Professional and business services added 73,000 as the unemployment rate declined to a 4 year low of 7.7 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“While we expected weather to impact the February print negatively, the February employment data seem largely unaffected, and fit a moderately strengthening trend evident in other indicators,” writes Citigroup’s Steven Wieting in a note to clients.
Business services such as accounting and bookkeeping saw a strong rise, but so did construction, which added 48,000 jobs according to the March 8 release which represents February data.
Government across the nation shed 10,000 jobs and there are other details that spoil the headline gains.
“The drop in the unemployment rate is certainly welcome news. However, the performance doesn’t add hope to the notion that discouraged or otherwise sidelined workers will rejoin the labor force,” writes Wieting. He is referring to a drop in the civilian labor force of 0.1 percent to 63.5 percent, the lowest point since the beginning of the 1980s.
If the civilian labor force decreases because people retire or stop looking for work, the unemployment rate goes down, but in total there are fewer people working. The employment to population ratio reflects that trend. Overall, 58.6 percent of the U.S. population is gainfully employed, a level not seen since 1983.
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