The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its monthly jobs report. This continues the trend of positive news for job-seekers. In February, 311,000 jobs were added to the economy, which is far more than was anticipated.
The news isn’t all bad, despite the strong increase in the number of job openings. With February’s job figures, any hope that Fed Chairman Jerome Powell would reconsider a lower interest rate hike when the board meets next week flew away. The employment gains weren’t evenly distributed across the board.
Tentatively, 105,000 new jobs were created by leisure and hospitality businesses. However, manufacturing employers lost 4,000 jobs. Transport and warehousing both lost around 22,000 jobs. The information sector, which also includes technology companies, saw a reduction of 25,000 jobs.
New York Times:
This new data is part of a slew of economic indicators that suggest that consumers and businesses are recovering from the Federal Reserve’s biggest interest rate hikes in 2022. Other indicators, such as the percentage of workers quitting their job, continue to fall to the ground after experiencing extraordinary rises in the last three years.
The Federal Reserve will use this information to inform its next interest rate decision, which is expected to be made in two weeks. The Fed was expected to continue on a slower track with an increase of one-quarter percent, but Jerome H. Powell (the Fed chair) warned this week that inflation could be a problem if new data shows that the economy isn’t slowing down enough.
The 0.2% monthly decrease in wage growth was the slowest since February 2022. Inflationary economies are not good for workers. The unemployment rate actually rose to 3.6%. This is yet another sign that there are many pieces to the puzzle. The economy is booming. The Federal Reserve Board’s Open Market Committee will decide whether or not we fall into recession by raising interest rates, or if the Fed can create a soft landing.
This is where Joe Biden can make a lot of political capital.