Economy adds 175,000 jobs in February
The US economy added 175,000 jobs in February according to the latest data from the Labor Department. The official unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7% from 6'6% in January.
The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, more than anticipated despite brutal weather conditions across much of the U.S., with the unemployment rate ticking slightly higher.
Economists had predicted 149,000 new jobs. The headline unemployment rate was 6.7% last month, up from 6.6% in January, a positive sign because it means more people entered the workforce.
The December and January figures, both well-below expectations, were revised higher by a combined 25,000.
Weather had been widely predicted to put a dent in the numbers ahead of the release of Friday’s data by the U.S. Labor Department. That was the case but it didn’t impact overall hiring as much as analysts had anticipated.
“The weather was unseasonably cold in February, especially during the period leading up to and including the (Labor Department’s) survey week. In addition, snowfall has been unseasonably high over the same period,” analysts with Nomura’s Global Markets Research unit wrote in a note prior to the release.
Instead of chilling overall hiring, the Labor Department said the weather resulted in 7 million people working part-time last month rather than full-time, ten times the number in January and the largest figure since January 1996, when a blizzard paralyzed the Northeast.
Todd Schoenberger, managing partner at LandColt Capital in New York, said the February numbers bode well for the spring, when the weather warms up.
“Despite headwinds, such as the continuation of a brutally cold winter, the labor market persevered, which leads to added optimism for a spring thaw in discretionary spending as we close out the first quarter of 2014,” he said. “Wall Street will cheer this report because strict attention is now given to economic and fundamental analysis as the (Federal Reserve) continues its tapering strategy.
The labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 63%.
There is very little to cheer about these numbers. They are still anemic by historical standards. Wages are still stagnant and while housing prices are slowly recovering, it will be years before they reach the levels seen in 2007.
The economy is largely treading water, which doesn't help those who live in areas still in recession. There are large swaths of American that the Obama "recovery" has barely touched. Until that happens, expect most people to continue insisting that the country is still in a recession.