Obama victory lap commences
The latest figures released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics defied the doubters with the nonfarm payrolls showing an extra +242,000 jobs added in February, easily outpacing expectations of around +190,000 positions.
The December result was revised up from +262,000 to +271,000, while the January figure was also revised up from +151,000 to +172,000, thereby effectively adding a further +30,000 jobs.
This was doubtless a very pleasing result for President Obama, who has previously copped plenty of flak for his supposedly disruptive "Obamacare" bill.
The main employment gains came from health care (+57,000), retail (+55,000), and bars and restaurants (+40,000) positions.
The US economy has now racked up 72 consecutive monthly payroll gains, becoming a job-creating machine over this period in generating 13 million new positions taking total employment more than 5 million higher than it was at the pre-crash peak.
The revised average monthly gain through 2015 was an impressive +221,000.
The unemployment rate was steady at 4.9 per cent in February, the lowest unemployment rate since early 2008 having come all the way down from 10 per cent in October 2009, while the participation rate was at its highest level since January 2015 at 62.9 per cent up from 62.7 per cent. The number of persons recorded as unemployed decliend by 831,000 over the year to February.
However, average hourly earnings ticked down by 3 cents to $25.35, with the year-on-year gain on this metric now +2.2 per cent, well down from the +2.5 per cent reading recorded for January. Hours worked also stumbled. This may suggest weaker inflation than had previously been expected.
Futures markets don't see further interest rate hikes in the US until much later in the year.
Still another good result for jobs created, and Obama will enjoy basking in some reflected glory.
An interesting weak ahead with figures due out detailing Overseas Arrivals & Departures for January, and Housing Finance for the same month.
January is not a reliable month for Housing Finance data due to seasonal disruptions, but we can expect to see a moderate decline in the number of loan approvals.