Economy

US added only 20,000 jobs last month - fewest since September 2017

US added only 20,000 jobs last month - fewest since September 2017

February's meager gain in non-farm payrolls is offset by an outsized increase in January, a number that was revised upward in this report, to 311,000, from a first estimate of 304,000. Average hourly earnings rose more strongly than in January, at 0.4 percent month-over-month and 3.4 percent year-over-year.

Last month's pullback in hiring does follow signs that USA economic growth is slowing because of a weaker global economy, a trade war between the United States and China and signs of caution among American consumers. But it has its limits as an indicator of how the economy is doing in the short term.

"We know there will be demand for them soon", said Martin Fleming, chief economist at IBM, who said the company has been hiring MBAs and people coming out of PhD programs even when there isn't necessarily a job posting for them because it's a "highly competitive landscape" between IBM, Facebook, Amazon, Google, etc. for top young talent.

"The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that MA had the highest employment to population gains of any state in 2018", Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta said in a news release.

U.S. job creation ground to a virtual halt last month, the government reported Friday, a blow to President Donald Trump's hopes for undiminished economic growth this year.

Job growth in the United States in February was much weaker than expected, and was disappointing news for investors hoping for signs of growth.

February jobs report—What to know in markets Friday

Many major industries showed no significant change in hiring last month, while construction jobs declined by 31,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

MA added 11,400 jobs in January as the unemployment rate held steady at 3.1 for the fourth consecutive month, according to figures released Friday by the state's Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.

Background and Analysis- On a year-over-year (y/y) basis (February 2019 over February 2018), total nonfarm employment was up 1.7%, and monthly job gains have averaged approximately 209,000 over the past 12 months. That's a noticeable pickup from January's year-over-year gain of 3.1 percent. But if wage gains pick up speed, it could fuel concerns of inflation hawks at the central bank. Manufacturing gained just 4,000 jobs - far fewer than the 21,000 that were added in January.

Still, the economy that in July will mark 10 years of expansion, the longest on record, is slowing and the weakening job gains support the Federal Reserve's "patient" approach toward further interest rate increases this year.

Education and Health Services added 1,300 (+0.2%) jobs over the month. Retail lost more than 6,000 jobs, and transportation and warehousing fell 3,000. The industries that added jobs included healthcare and professional services, the agency noted.

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