Society

U.S. Adds 235,000 Jobs In February

| by Jordan Smith

The U.S. economy gained approximately 235,000 jobs in February, according to the latest monthly update released on March 10.

The first full month under President Donald Trump's administration also saw wages rise by 2.8 percent with inflation at 2 percent, VOX reports.

February's job report shows unemployment fell slightly from 4.8 percent to 4.7 percent, The Guardian notes.

During the election campaign, Trump doubted the validity of the jobs reports, calling them a "hoax," according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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However, White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on March 10 that Trump had said, "[job reports] may have been phony in the past, but they are very real now."

Most economists also responded positively.

"It's hard to find much to dislike in the February jobs report," JPMorgan Chase economist Michael Feroli said.

The construction sector led the way with 58,000 new jobs created, the highest in a decade. Mining, including oil and gas drilling, added 7,700 jobs, the highest figure in almost three years.

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"Today, the [Federal Reserve System] cleared the last small obstacle on its way to a now virtually certain interest rate rise next week," said Oliver Kolodseike, The Guardian reports

If the interest rate rise takes place, then it will be the third such increase in 15 months.

"While this jobs data is solid enough, it is not too hot to force the Fed to embark on more than three rate hikes this year, which is what the market expects," added Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index.

Trump reacted enthusiastically to high jobs estimates in the March 10 ADP report.

"Great news. We are only just beginning. Together, we are going to #MAGA!" he tweeted on March 8, referring with the hashtag to his slogan "Make America great again."

This was a shift in tone from a press conference held in February, when Trump said the Barack Obama administration left behind "many problems across government and across the economy."

The February jobs report also contains less positive figures. The number of people in part-time work who would prefer a full-time job but cannot find one remains almost 25 percent higher than before the 2007-2008 recession.

An alternative unemployment measure, which includes those involuntarily in part-time employment and people who have given up looking for work, stands at 9.2 percent, almost double the official jobless rate, according to the Star Tribune.

"Public sector employment is still lower now than it was when the recession began," Elise Gould of the Economic Policy Institute think tank told the Guardian. "There was this pursuit of austerity, and that pursuit has put a chokehold on the speed of the recovery. If you look at one of the essential groups of workers in our economy, public school teachers, we have fewer than we did when the recession began. And we know for certain there are more kids."

sources: VOX, The Guardian, Minneapolis Star Tribune / Photo credit: Michael Vadon/Wikimedia Commons

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