USA: employment report

Here are the key highlights from the employment statistics:

  • Payrolls rose by a healthy 192,000 in February, in line with consensus estimates. Moreover, the net revision for the previous 2 months was +58K
  • Encouragingly, the unemployment rate fell further from 9.0% in January to 8.9% in February
  • Other data were softer. Aggregate weekly payrolls (a proxy for labour income) grew by “only” 3.2% annualised between Q4 and January-February, following +3.7% q-o-q in Q4
  • The pace of growth in employment is accelerating only very modestly so far in Q1, but we continue to expect more substantial improvement over the coming few months

Non-farm payroll employment rose by a healthy 192,000 m-o-m in February, in line with consensus expectations of an increase of 196,000. Moreover, there was a positive upward revision for January (from +36,000 to +63,000) and for December (from 121,000 to 152,000). Net revisions thus cumulated to +58,000. Excluding April 2010 (+203,000), February’s job creation was at its highest since March 2007.

In February, employment grew significantly in the health sector, in “employment services”, in the manufacturing sector and, following five consecutive months of decline, in the construction sector (although this was probably a weather-related rebound). However, without any great surprise, it continued to contract substantially in the government sector: -30,000 m-o-m.

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