MNI BRIEF: US Feb Hiring Above Expectations; Wage Growth Slows
Unemployment rate ticks up to 3.6% as the labor force expanded last month.
U.S. employers hired significantly more workers than Wall Street expected in February, but wage growth slowed and more people entered the workforce, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday.
Nonfarm payroll employment increased 311,000, above expectations for a 225,000 gain, while the unemployment rate rebounded two-tenths to 3.6%. Average hourly earnings growth over the month slowed a tenth to 0.2%, a tenth weaker than expected, and was 4.6% over the year.
Despite the stronger-than-expected payrolls figures, the odds that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates by a larger 50 bps fell to below 50%, according to futures pricing. The U.S. dollar saw downside pressure and the 10-year Treasury yield extended gains. (See: MNI INTERVIEW: Fed Should Hike 50BPS If Data Stay Strong-Kohn)
Job gains were led by the leisure and hospitality, retail trade, government and health care sectors. Employment declined in information and in transportation and warehousing, the BLS said. Strong employment gains in January and December were revised marginally lower by 34,000.