APRIL 8, 2019 – JOBS NUMBERS RISE IN MARCH, COULD FEBRUARY HAVE BEEN AN OUTLIER?
After abysmal data in February, it looks like employment is back on track. The US economy added only 33,000 jobs in February, but this month, 196,000 new jobs were created. This rebound in hiring could lift confidence in the economy as well as ease fears of a sharp growth slow down. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.8 percent.
Weekly and hourly wages increased by 0.14 percent for the month, and 3.2 percent in the last 12 months, slightly below the 3.4 percent recorded in February. Regardless, year-over-year wage gains are outpacing inflation allowing lower income households to see their spending power increase. On average, year-over-year weekly gains have been exceeded 3 percent for the last 12 months.
Economic conditions now look more favorable than they did at the start of the year, with Q1 GDP projected to rise to 2.1 percent, according to the Atlanta Fed, which had been tracking gains of just 0.2 percent only a few weeks ago
The combination of steady hiring and wage growth is not enough to cause inflation fears. It is not expected the data will cause the Fed to change their outlook on lifting interest rates in the near term, but the expectations for rates cuts this year are falling.