It looks like the consensus just about got this one right. The headline payrolls figure came in at 227K, just above the 205K consensus. January’s data was revised higher to 285K. That’s over 500K jobs in two months! Econoday has a good run-down on the data:
“Employment gains continued at a moderately healthy pace in February while the unemployment rate was unchanged 8.3 percent in January. Upward revisions to payrolls were notable. Payroll jobs in February grew 227,000 after gaining 284,000 in January (originally 243,000) and rising 223,000 in December (prior estimate up 203,000). The net revisions for December and January were up 61,000. The consensus projected a 204,000 increase for February. Overall payroll jobs now have risen more than 200,000 for three months in a row.
Private payrolls were slightly stronger than overall, rising 233,000 in February after a 285,000 boost the month before. Analysts expected a 220,000 advance. Private-sector employment was led by services-providing industries with a 209,000 boost, following a 202,000 increase in January. By industry, job gains were strongest in professional and business services, health care and social assistance, and leisure and hospitality.
In goods-producing industries, manufacturing and mining also posted notable gains while construction employment slipped. Manufacturing gained 32,000 after a 52,000 jump in January. Mining rose 7,000 after a 10,000 gain. However, construction jobs fell back 13,000 after a 21,000 boost the month before.
The public sector continued to shrink but at a more modest pace than in recent months as government employment eased 6,000, following a 1,000 slip in January.
Average hourly earnings rose a modest 0.1 percent in February, following a 0.1 percent gain the month before. The market median forecast was for a 0.2 percent improvement. The average workweek for all workers in February was unchanged at 34.5 hours. Expectations were for 34.5 hours.
From the household survey, the steady unemployment rate reflected gains in both household employment and the labor force. Analysts had forecast an 8.3 percent unemployment rate.
On the news, equity futures gained while Treasury rates were steady.
Overall, the latest report shows the labor market gradually improving and providing modest momentum to the consumer sector. Still, growth is not strong enough to make much of a dent in unemployment. “
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.