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February jobs report outperforms expectations, US adds 678,000 jobs

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According to the Labor Department’s February jobs report, the United States added 678,000 jobs last month. That number is well above the roughly 400,000 jobs many analysts had been predicting.

“We now have recovered more than 90 percent of the jobs lost at the onset of the pandemic,” Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “Last month’s job growth was widespread across the private sector, with notable gains for hard-hit Leisure and Hospitality businesses. In addition, workers with less than a high-school diploma have the lowest unemployment rate on record since [the Bureau of Labor Statistics] began tracking this data in 1992.”

In addition to the 678,000 jobs added, the unemployment rate dropped from 4% to 3.8% February. That’s the lowest unemployment rate since February 2020.

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5%) and Hispanics (4.4%) declined in February,” the report said. “The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks declined by 286,000 to 2.1 million.”  However, the report also noted that both “the number of persons on temporary layoff” and “the number of permanent job losers… are higher than their February 2020 levels.”

Friday’s jobs report is the latest in the series of reports indicating the economy is recovering from the Omicron wave of COVID-19. Restaurant traffic has regained pre-pandemic levels, hotel reservations are up and far more Americans are flying than at the height of omicron. These trends, along with an increase in wages, have caused consumer spending to rise.

Wage increases, which continued in February, have forced employers to raise prices, further fueling the worst inflation seen since 1982. Price spikes have been especially high for such necessities as food, gasoline and rent.

“While we must tackle head on the challenge families are facing with rising costs, today’s report underscores that the United States is uniquely well positioned to deal with the challenge that inflation has posed across the world as we recover from the pandemic,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on the February jobs report.

Inflation will likely accelerate in the coming months thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which could slow hiring and growth later this year. But economists expect the consequences to be more severe in Europe than in the United States. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell already said this week he plans to propose that the Fed raise its benchmark short-term rate by a quarter-point when it meets in about two weeks to counter inflation.

Jimmie Johnson: THE FEBRUARY JOBS REPORT HAS WELL EXCEEDED EXPECTATIONS.
THE LABOR DEPARTMENT — REPORTING FRIDAY THE U-S ADDED 678-THOUSAND JOBS.
THAT’S MUCH HIGHER THAN THE 400-THOUSAND JOBS ANALYSTS WERE PREDICTING.
THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE ALSO FELL TO 3-POINT-8 PERCENT.
THAT’S THE LOWEST IT’S BEEN SINCE THE PANDEMIC BEGAN.
NOT ONLY ARE JOBS BEING ADDED — BUT WORKERS’ WAGES ALSO CONTINUED TO RISE.
HOWEVER — THIS HAS FORCED EMPLOYERS TO RAISE PRICES — FUELING THE WORST INFLATION WE’VE SEEN IN DECADES.
FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIR JEROME POWELL ANNOUNCED HE WOULD PROPOSE A QUARTER-POINT HIKE IN THE FED’S BENCHMARK INTEREST RATE LATER THIS MONTH IN ORDER TO COMBAT INFLATION.

According to the Labor Department’s February jobs report, the United States added 678,000 jobs last month. That number is well above the roughly 400,000 jobs many analysts had been predicting.

“We now have recovered more than 90 percent of the jobs lost at the onset of the pandemic,” Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said in a statement. “Last month’s job growth was widespread across the private sector, with notable gains for hard-hit Leisure and Hospitality businesses. In addition, workers with less than a high-school diploma have the lowest unemployment rate on record since [the Bureau of Labor Statistics] began tracking this data in 1992.”

In addition to the 678,000 jobs added, the unemployment rate dropped from 4% to 3.8% February. That’s the lowest unemployment rate since February 2020.

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5%) and Hispanics (4.4%) declined in February,” the report said. “The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks declined by 286,000 to 2.1 million.”  However, the report also noted that both “the number of persons on temporary layoff” and “the number of permanent job losers… are higher than their February 2020 levels.”

Friday’s jobs report is the latest in the series of reports indicating the economy is recovering from the Omicron wave of COVID-19. Restaurant traffic has regained pre-pandemic levels, hotel reservations are up and far more Americans are flying than at the height of omicron. These trends, along with an increase in wages, have caused consumer spending to rise.

Wage increases, which continued in February, have forced employers to raise prices, further fueling the worst inflation seen since 1982. Price spikes have been especially high for such necessities as food, gasoline and rent.

“While we must tackle head on the challenge families are facing with rising costs, today’s report underscores that the United States is uniquely well positioned to deal with the challenge that inflation has posed across the world as we recover from the pandemic,” President Joe Biden said in a statement on the February jobs report.

Inflation will likely accelerate in the coming months thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which could slow hiring and growth later this year. But economists expect the consequences to be more severe in Europe than in the United States. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell already said this week he plans to propose that the Fed raise its benchmark short-term rate by a quarter-point when it meets in about two weeks to counter inflation.

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