The Bureau of Labor Statistics just announced the February jobs data. As we all know, the information is critical to the Feds direction in regard to interest rates and economic activity. So what did we learn today?
Total nonfarm payrolls rose 311,000 in February, and the unemployment rate increased to 3.6 percent. Leisure and hospitality saw job increases while information technology, transportation and warehousing all saw declines.
Notable Data Points:
- The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs increased by 223,000 in February to 2.8 million.
- The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks increased by 343,000 to 2.3 million in February, offsetting a decrease in the prior month.
- In February, information technology lost 25,000 jobs, and the technology space continues to cut jobs around the globe.
So what does this mean for the overall economy? This can be taken as a step in the right direction as the Fed continues its push to control rising prices. The dual mandate of the Fed, price stability and maximum employment, remains in focus. The Fed has a lot of runway on employment at this time and is currently focusing on price stability. The Fed has a meeting coming up shortly where they will again decide to raise interest rates, the question remains, will it be 25bps or 50bps. The market seems to be pricing in a higher rate hike at this time, however, the real question remains, how long will rates remain at these levels?
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