Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment Situation Summary
While economists were expecting a decent job report of 230,000 new jobs, February proved to be another very strong month of job creation as 295,000 new jobs were created. This caused the headline unemployment rate to drop to 5.5%, though that was ironically mixed news because it was partly caused by more unemployed people giving up the job search than actually getting jobs. On the other hand, the broadest measure of unemployment, the U-6 rate, which includes people marginally attached to the workforce and part-time workers who can’t find full-time work, dropped .3 points to 11% (the normal U-6 rate is about 9%) because lots of part-time workers found full-time employment. Wage growth was also weak, which isn’t surprising given the deflationary environment that currently exists. If job growth continues this strongly, by the end of the year employment levels should be very close to normal, and a tightened labor market should create enough pressure to create real wage gains over the inflation rate.