Fewer new jobs in United States as labour market tightens
10 March, 2019, 22:59 | Author: Mary Valdez
Employers added just 20,000 jobs, down from a blockbuster 311,000 in January.
USA job creation ground to a virtual halt last month, the government reported Friday, a blow to President Donald Trump's hopes for undiminished economic growth this year. And over the past three months, job growth has averaged a solid 186,000, enough to lower the unemployment rate over time.
The increase in jobs was below the 180,000 projected by private analysts and the smallest gain since September 2017.
"The U.S. labor market is still in good shape", said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial. Manufacturing added just 4,000, the fewest in a year and a half, a sign that Trump's trade war has raised costs and lowered exports for many factories.
United States hiring was the weakest in more than a year while wage gains were the fastest of the expansion and the unemployment rate fell, a possible sign that America's jobs engine is starting to slow down.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average appeared to react negatively to the jobs report. That left investors cautious about the world's largest economy.
America Created Just 20,000 Jobs in February
Even with faster pay raises that could reflect employers' difficulty finding qualified workers, the big miss on payrolls may fuel concern about the mood among USA consumers after a December retail-sales slump that was the worst in nine years.
The revision also set back the state's recovery of jobs lost during the 2008-2010 recession. Others have said the five-week government shutdown - which delayed release of the jobs data - also played a role in the January spike, as idled government employees who found other jobs temporarily may have been double-counted.
The labor force participation rate held at 63.2% in February and has changed little over the year.
However, a turnaround is to be expected in the April-June quarter, experts suggest. It will be harder than usual, though, to get a precise read on the economy because many data reports are still delayed by the partial shutdown of the government.
The unemployment rate, meanwhile, decreased slightly from 3.9 percent to 3.8 percent. Sales of new homes also cratered late previous year before picking up in December. Retail sales, homebuilding, business spending and exports all declined in December, setting the economy on a slower growth path. Real gross domestic product increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018.In the third quarter, real GDP increased 3.4 percent.
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