Jobs report crushes expectations, wage growth slows

Jobs report crushes expectations, wage growth slows

Pennsylvania's unemployment rate held steady at 4.8 percent in January, the Department of Labor & Industry said Friday.

Hiring surged last month as US employers generated the most new jobs since mid-2016, the Labor Department said Friday, but wage growth slowed as long-awaited gains in worker pay have yet to take permanent hold.

Victoria is no longer showing the lowest unemployment rate in B.C.as the number went up again in the latest figures released by Statistics Canada Friday.

Employment in professional and business services, which tends to drive office demand, increased by 50,000 in February and has risen by 495,000 during the last 12 months.

The payrolls gain was the most since July 2016 and triple the roughly 100,000 jobs the economy needs to create each month to keep up with growth in the working-age population.

Along those lines, average weekly earnings for production and nonsupervisory employees in manufacturing rose from $891.63 in January to $900.55 in February. "Today's report shows that average hourly earnings significantly increased in February and have increased by 2.6 percent over the a year ago".

The February hiring increase kept the unemployment rate steady at 4.1 percent, where it has remained since October 2017, the Chicago Tribune reported.

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The state's civilian labor force dropped 4,000 over the month, to 6.414 million, after remaining unchanged for four months.

Discouraged workers are persons not now looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. That indicated that more people were coming off the labor-market sidelines to look for work. The unemployment rate had been expected to dip to 4.0%.

Investors welcomed the prospect of continued strong job growth and low interest rates.

So, for the first two months of the year the USA economy has added 552,000 jobs, a 20.3 percent increase from the first two months of 2017.

Employment gains were led by the construction sector, which added 61,000 jobs, the most since March 2007.

Financial activities added 28,000 jobs over the month, with gains in credit intermediation and related activities (+8,000); insurance carriers and related activities (+8,000); and securities, commodity contracts, and investments (+5,000). Government employment was up by 26,000.

December and January's job numbers were both revised upwards, going from 160,000 to 175,000 and 200,000 to 239,000 respectively. Average hourly earnings for production and non-supervisory workers, which economists say are better measured, increased 0.3 percent in February. Average hourly earnings had been expected to increase 0.2 percent in February. With those upward revisions, hiring has averaged 242,000 over the last three months.

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