US economy creates paltry 20,000 jobs in February

US economy creates paltry 20,000 jobs in February

The Labor Department released a shocking jobs report on Friday revealing the US economy added just 20,000 jobs in February - far fewer than analysts' prediction of 180,000 new jobs and sparking fears of an impending economic slowdown. That's a noticeable pickup from January's year-over-year gain of 3.1 percent. "Things are looking good!" the president tweeted on International Women's Day, although the figure he was referring to is really 3.8 percent.

Trailing sectors were leisure and hospitality (500 new jobs), education and health services (400) and information (300).

Last month, employment at construction sites fell by 31,000 jobs, the biggest drop since December 2013, after increasing by 53,000 in January.

USA employment has now risen for 100 consecutive months, the longest jobs-expansion streak on record. The near-flatlining of job creation in February weighs strongly on the side of the Fed not raising interest rates any further in the coming months, as policymakers wait to see if February's employment falter is just a blip, or the beginning of a more significant and sustained downturn in job creation.

Last month's pullback in hiring does follow signs that US economic growth is probably slowing because of a weaker global economy, a trade war between the United States and China and signs of caution among American consumers.

CFRA Research Investment strategist Lindsey Bell, BMO Capital Markets chief investment strategist Brian Belski and Ladenburg Thalmann Asset Management CEO Phil Blancato on the release of the Federal Reserve's Beige Book and the state of the US stock market.




"At 3.4 per cent year-over-year, wage gains hit their highest mark since April 2009".

Last year, businesses added an average of 220,000 jobs every month.

The prime-age (25-54) labor force participation rate is still up 0.4 points over the past year, which has helped to arrest the downward trend in unemployment even as job growth has been robust.

Despite the weakest gain in 17 months, average hourly earnings increased by 3.4 percent.

Last year, the state's annual private sector job count reached 8,181,000, a new, all-time high, and the state's unemployment rate fell to 4.1%, its lowest annual rate on record. Manufacturing gained just 4,000 jobs - far fewer than the 21,000 that were added in January.

Trade, Transportation and Utilities added 2,500 (+0.4%) jobs over the month. Government payrolls dropped by 5,000 jobs last month, pulled down by declines both local and state government education.

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