Nonfarm payroll employment continued to trend up (+97,000), and the un- employment rate (4.5 percent) was essentially unchanged in February, theBureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.Employment grew in some service-providing industries but declined sharply inconstruction. Manufacturing employment continued to trend downward. Averagehourly earnings rose by 6 cents, or 0.4 percent, over the month.
The much anticipated February employment report was released to a great sigh of relief on Wall Street this morning. The 97,000 jobs added was basically in line with expectations. The losers for the month were manufacturing and construction, losing 62K and 14k jobs respectively. Winners were Profeesional and business services, Education and health services, Leisure and hospitality and government. The workweek fell by 0.1 hours and pay increased by $0.06/hour.
There is little here that should be surprising. Manufacturing has been declining for a long time and the housing slowdown is finally hitting construction jobs.
The rise in earnings is likely to keep the Fed on hold for a while longer as they continue to fret more about inflation than growth.
Stock market futures rallied immediately after the report, but it will be interesting to see if the rally can be sustained for the entire day.