The U.S. economy added 235,000 non-farm payroll jobs in February and the U.S. unemployment rate lowered to 4.7 percent from 4.8 percent, according to a new labor report today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Economists from briefing.com had a consensus forecast of 188,000 non-farm payroll jobs in February.
The strong February jobs report bolsters the case for the U.S. Federal Reserve to raise interest rates next week at their March monetary policy meeting.
During the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 209,000 per month.
Higher Job Revisions
Job revisions over the past 2 months expanded by 9,000 than first reported. The December jobs report was revised down from 157,000 to 155,000 while the January jobs report was revised higher from 227,000 to 238,000.
Job increases in February occurred the most in the construction industry which saw an increase of 58,000 in February, although retail trade saw a decline of -26,000.
Over the past 6 months, construction has added 177,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $26.09 after a 5-cent increase in January.
During the past year, average hourly earnings have increased by 71 cents, or 2.8 percent.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls remained unchanged at
34.4 hours in February while the labor force participation rate was 63.0 percent.
Trump’s Job Approval Ratings Below 45 percent
President Trump has a 44.5 percent job approval rating based on a Real Clear Politics average of major polls taken from 2/21/17 – 3/8/17.
Based on the Real Clear Politics average of major polls, Trump has a 49.5 percent disapproval rating with 52.2 percent reporting the country is going down the wrong track compared to just 39.1 percent of polled Americans that believe the country is going down the right track.
President Trump’s job approval concerning the economy is slightly better with 48.3 percent of polled Americans approving his handling of the economy compared to 40.4 percent of Americans that disapprove based on the Real Clear Politics average of major polls taken from 2/7 – 3/7.
ECB March Monetary Policy Decision- Unchanged
Yesterday the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep interest rates unchanged at their March monetary policy meeting.
The interest rates on the ECB’s marginal lending facility and deposit facility remained unchanged at 0.00 percent, 0.25 percent and -0.40 percent while the central bank continues to maintain the level of their asset purchase program (APP) at €80 billion through the end of this month.
Beginning in April, the ECB will lower the level of their asset purchases to €60 billion through the end of December 2017 or beyond, if necessary.
According to Eurostat’s flash estimate, euro area annual HICP inflation rose to 2.0 percent in February, up from 1.8 percent in January 2017, and 1.1 percent in December 2016.
ECB President Mario Draghi pointed out that the increase in inflation reflects a “strong increase in in annual energy and unprocessed food price inflation” which has increased in recent months although he admitted in his statement, “no signs yet of a convincing upward trend in underlying inflation.”
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