State lost jobs in January but unemployment rate unchanged

10 March, 2018, 01:40 | Author: Salvatore Jensen
  • Chicago President Charles Evans participates in a moderated discussion in Zurich Switzerland

"This is a report that's going to strengthen the argument of some of the doves on the Fed, that people came back to the labor force last month - that's a positive sign for the US economy", Alan Krueger, a Princeton University professor who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, said on Bloomberg Television.

The number of people that have given up looking for jobs, so-called discouraged workers, declined 149,000 from the same month past year.

On one side are those who worry about overheating: Given the 4.1 percent jobless rate (that number was unchanged in February), if the economy is allowed to boom, it will create inflation rather than improvement in real living standards.

The jobs report shows healthy economic conditions at the start of the year, as reflected in both the magnitude of gains as well as the healthy dispersion of job creation.




There are 39 pages in the Labor Department's February report on the employment situation in the United States, but they can be summed up in four words: The economy is humming. December's jobs numbers went from 160,000 to 175,000. More than eight of 10 leading economists (84%) polled by Bankrate expect "further acceleration" in wage growth this year. Retailers added 50,000, the most in two years, though that figure was probably inflated by the fact that stores laid off fewer temporary workers after the holidays because they hired fewer than in previous years. Hispanic unemployment was 4.9 percent. That's less than economists predicted and slower than the 2.9% rise in January, which set off fears on Wall Street about rising inflation and the possibility of interest rate hikes. But it's a volatile measure. The jobless rate for black workers fell to 6.9 per cent after jumping almost a full percentage point a month earlier. The proportion of people in their prime working years (25 to 54) who are working is at its highest level since 2008. Hispanic unemployment is still near its low.

"In a nutshell, the tax cuts are already boosting hiring, but as long as it's not causing wages to accelerate or the unemployment rate to drop, why worry?" That's where it was in February. "We saw positive movement in the labor force participation rate, and we would like to see that continue over the coming months".

February proved to be another good month for industry employment.

Hourly wage growth, meanwhile, grew by 0.1 percent, a decrease from January, when it grew 0.3 percent. Construction firms added 61,000 workers, the biggest increase in almost 11 years for the sector.

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