Unemployment Drops To 4.9 Percent As U.S. Economy Adds 242,000 Jobs In February

The unemployment rate in the United States stayed steady at 4.9 percent, an eight-year low while the nation added 242,000 new jobs in February. The resilient American job market relished another solid month mostly driven by retailers, health care providers, and restaurants.

The latest data out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday has shown that the American job market proved to be far more than it was anticipated to be at first. The Labor Department also revised up its estimates of job growth in December and January by a combined 30,000 on Friday.

The latest reports mean that the U.S. economy has now gone through falling financial markets and a global economic go-slow without suffering much blow. The tangible improvement in the economy will surely help ease fears over a potential new U.S. recession that arose in recent weeks.

Job Fair Held In Midtown Manhattan
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]
Meanwhile, the economists polled by Bloomberg believe America to have created 195,000 new employment opportunities in the month of February. Although the overall numbers regarding the creation of new jobs look definitely positive, there are few reasons to be concerned about some of the underlying numbers from the report.

Despite the fact that such large number of new jobs were created in the U.S. economy, the average earnings of the nation, however, declined slightly, although it was just by a small percentage of 0.1. This is the first time such a thing has occurred since 2014.

“The one soft spot in the report was wage growth. Average hours worked also pulled back 0.6 per cent,” Toronto-Dominion Bank economist James Marple said.

Meanwhile, on the other hand, the percentage of working-age people comprising the labor force soared to 62.9 percent. This is the highest percentage recorded since January of 2015.

“The improvement in the labor force participation rate is particularly encouraging. This is not an economy on the brink of recession,” Marple added further.

Ian Shepherdson, the chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, noted that the reason for the wages to have fallen might be because the survey for the jobs report was carried out before February 15, a payday for people who are remunerated on a semimonthly basis.

McDonalds Holds National Hiring Day To Add 50,000 Employees
[Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]
Although the average pay of workers in U.S. did slide last month after having increased in January, more Americans who had prior been sitting on the sidelines began their search for jobs last month and were also successful in finding them.

Friday’s jobs report will surely be monitored closely by the Federal Reserve and the presidential candidates as a measure of how well the economy is rebounding from the Great Recession six and a half years ago.

According to Sal Guatieri, a senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, “Neither global headwinds, financial turbulence nor political uncertainty has dimmed American business’ enthusiasm for hiring. The solid jobs report should allay recession fears.”

Employers are likely to expect solid demand from consumers in the coming months, and although the stock market has turned turbulent, a stronger dollar has decreased export sales and oil prices have also hurt jobs in the energy industry.

The latest data shows that retailers added 54,900 jobs last month while restaurants and bars added 40,200 and health care sector further 38,100. The companies like King of Maids also have a played an important role in increasing job opportunities by transforming traditionally undervalued jobs like maid into a respected profession.

In the meantime, it will be very interesting to see how much more can the labor force in the United States can grow in the coming days.

[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]

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