WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job growth accelerated sharply in February despite the icy weather that gripped much of the nation, easing fears of an abrupt economic slowdown and keeping the Federal Reserve on track to continue reducing its monetary stimulus.
Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month after creating 129,000 new positions in January, the Labor Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate, however, rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent as Americans flooded into the labor market to search for work.
WASHINGTON, March 7 (Reuters) – U.S. job growth rose more
than expected in February, easing fears of an abrupt slowdown in
economic growth and keeping the Federal Reserve on track to
continue reducing its monetary stimulus.
Employers added 175,000 jobs to their payrolls last month
after creating 129,000 new positions in January, the Labor
Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate, however, rose
to 6.7 percent from a five-year low of 6.6 percent.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. hiring likely picked up enough in February to keep the Federal Reserve on track in reducing its monetary stimulus.
But the size of the gain is nevertheless expected to be modest as the economy struggles to break free of the grip of unusually severe winter weather.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for jobless benefits hit a three-month low last week, suggesting some strength in a labor market that has been hobbled by severe weather.
Other data on Thursday showed a second straight monthly decline in factory orders in January, likely because unusually cold and snowy weather disrupted activity.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits fell more than expected and hit a three-month low last week, a sign of strength in a labor market that has been hobbled by severe weather.
Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 26,000 to a seasonally adjusted 323,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. That was the lowest level since the end of November and the drop more than unwound the prior week’s rise.
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) – U.S. private employers added
fewer workers than expected in February and services sector
growth hit a four-year low, the latest signs of the economic
toll severe weather is taking.
Economists were little fazed by Wednesday’s downbeat
reports. They said the economy’s fundamentals were still sound,
and that a string of mostly weak data would not be enough to
dissuade the Federal Reserve from continuing to dial back its
“We continue to believe that the underlying momentum in the
economy remains favorable, and we look for the pace of growth to
rebound meaningfully in the coming months as the drag on
activity from the unseasonably cold weather abates,” said Millan
Mulraine, deputy chief economist at TD Securities in New York.
A report from payrolls processor ADP showed private
employment increased by a tepid 139,000 jobs last month. At the
same time, private-sector jobs growth in January was revised
down sharply to 127,000 from 175,000.
Moody’s Analytics, joint developers of the report, blamed
harsh weather for last month’s reading, which was below the
160,000 jobs that economists had expected.
The report came ahead of the government’s comprehensive
employment report on Friday. It raised the prospect of a third
straight month of sub-par nonfarm payrolls gains in February,
though economists said the ADP data was not a good predictor.
A Reuters survey conducted last week forecast employers
added 150,000 workers to their payrolls last month, up from the
similarly weather-depressed gains of 113,000 in January and
75,000 in December.
In a separate report, the Institute for Supply Management
said its services sector index fell to 51.6 last month, the
weakest reading since February 2010, from 54 in January. It
blamed bad weather for the moderation in activity.
Still, February marked the 50th month in a row the index was
above 50, the level that separates expansion and contraction.
A sub-index of services sector employment contracted for the
first time since December 2011 and recorded its worst reading in
nearly four years.
A separate report on the services sector from financial data
firm Markit also suggested activity slowed. In addition,
Markit’s gauge of services sector employment fell to an 11-month
FED SEEN STAYING THE COURSE
U.S. stocks were little changed after two days of sharp
swings related to events in Ukraine. The dollar slipped against
a basket of currencies, while prices for U.S. Treasury debt rose
The weather has complicated the Fed’s task of determining
the economy’s likely path. Still, Fed officials from Chair Janet
Yellen on down have shown little inclination to halt their plan
to wind down the central bank’s monthly bond purchases this
Yellen told lawmakers last month that it would take a
“significant change” to the economy’s prospects for the Fed to
alter its plans.
This winter has been colder than usual, with severe
snowstorms affecting large parts of the Northeast, Midwest and
Upper Midwest of the country, while the Southeast has
experienced unusual ice storms in recent weeks as well.
“The Fed has already signaled that it will not jump to
conclusions about the pace of growth based on recent data,” said
John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.
“Unless Friday’s jobs number is very weak, we expect the Fed
will announce a further reduction in the pace of purchases later
in the month.”
The Fed’s policy-setting committee meets on March 18-19.
While much of the slowdown in activity has been blamed on
the cold weather, businesses are also placing fewer orders with
manufacturers as they work through stocks of unsold goods.
The end of long-term jobless benefits and cuts to food
stamps have also crimped growth.
The economy grew at a 2.4 percent annual rate in the fourth
quarter, sharply decelerating from the 4.1 percent pace of the
July-September quarter when business inventories bulged.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. job growth likely picked up enough in February to encourage the Federal Reserve to continue to scale back its monetary stimulus, although the gain is likely to be tepid given the unrelentingly harsh winter weather.
Employers probably added 150,000 workers to their payrolls last month, according to a Reuters poll of economists, up from the similarly weather-depressed levels of 113,000 in January and 75,000 in December.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. factory activity rebounded last month from an eight-month low and consumer spending increased more than expected in January, suggesting the economy was regaining some strength after abruptly slowing in recent months.
The signs of a comeback, also evident in a surprise gain in construction spending, should bolster the Federal Reserve’s resolve to keep scaling back its massive monetary stimulus. Reports from automakers also showed sales edged up from January’s weather-depressed levels.
WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) – U.S. factory activity
rebounded from an eight-month low in February and consumer
spending rose more than expected in January, suggesting the
economy was regaining some strength after a recent slowdown.
The signs of momentum were also evident in other reports on
Monday that showed a brisk increase in automobile sales in
February and a surprise gain in construction spending in
January, despite unseasonably cold weather.
WASHINGTON, Feb 28 (Reuters) – The U.S. government slashed
its estimate for fourth-quarter growth as consumer spending and
exports were less robust than initially thought, suggesting some
loss of momentum heading into 2014.
Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.4 percent annual
rate, the Commerce Department said on Friday. That was down
sharply from the 3.2 percent pace reported last month and the
4.1 percent logged in the third quarter.