US adds 275,000 jobs in February, tops expectations

  • Market: Chemicals, Coal, Crude oil, Metals, Natural gas, Oil products
  • 08/03/24

The US added a more-than-expected 275,000 nonfarm jobs in February but those larger gains were offset by sharp revisions for the prior two months.

Job gains in February, which topped analysts' estimates of about 200,000 for the month, followed downward revisions of 167,000 jobs for the prior two months, leaving January gains at 229,000 and December's at 290,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Gains over the 12 months through January averaged 230,000.

The unemployment rate rose to 3.9pc in February, a two-year high, from 3.7pc in January. The jobless rate was 3.6pc in February 2023, near a five-decade low.

"The current trend in payrolls is steady, but a clear downturn is coming," said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. "It would be no surprise if the Fed waits until June" to begin easing rates.

Futures markets showed about an 82pc probability of rate cuts beginning in June after the report was released, compared with about 75pc prior to the report. Fed policy makers are expected to keep the target range unchanged at a more than two-decade high of 5.25-5.5pc at the 20 March meeting while they seek "greater confidence" that inflation is "sustainably" slowing to their target of 2pc.

Job gains occurred in health care (67,000 jobs), government (52,000), food services and drinking places (42,000), transportation and warehousing (20,000), and construction (23,000). Manufacturing and mining and oil and gas extraction showed little change.

Average hourly earnings were up by an annual 4.3pc in February, down from 4.5pc for the year through January and reflecting easing wage pressures as inflation slows.

By Bob Willis


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24/04/24
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24/04/24

Iraq to keep 3.3mn b/d crude export cap until year end

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24/04/24

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24/04/24
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24/04/24

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