Jobs Report Suggests We're on the Road to Recovery

Employers added 678K new jobs, topping expectations
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 4, 2022 8:54 AM CST
Jobs Report Suggests We're on the Road to Recovery
For sale and hiring signs are displayed at an Armani Exchange store, Jan. 21, 2022, in Miami Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

The monthly jobs figures are out for February, and they signal a return to "something resembling normal," reports the New York Times. A drop in coronavirus cases coincided with strong hiring and increased consumer spending. More:

  • Jobs: Employers added 678,000 jobs in February, topping economists' forecasts for a second month in a row. Employers have now added at least 400,000 jobs each month since May for "the longest such streak on record," per the Times.

  • Rate: The unemployment rate fell from 4% to 3.8%. However, there are 2.1 million fewer jobs in the US than in February 2020, before the pandemic.
  • Back to normal?: Strong hiring came as the omicron wave faded and more Americans ventured out. "Restaurant traffic has regained pre-pandemic levels, hotel reservations are up and far more Americans are flying than at the height of omicron," per the AP.
  • Wages: Average hourly pay rose by only a cent in February, per MarketWatch. Still, it's up 5.1% in the past year, per the AP. "The competition for labor has pushed up wages—good news for employees, but a concern for policymakers at the Federal Reserve, who are already worried about rapid inflation," per the Times.

  • Interest rates: In response to inflation, the Federal Reserve is set to raise interest rates this month—Chair Jerome Powell said this week that he will propose a quarter-point increase—and several more times this year, per the AP.
  • Continued inflation: Russia's invasion of Ukraine will keep inflation higher than it otherwise would have been, Powell noted. Expect higher prices for gas and other commodities including aluminum, wheat, and corn.
  • Reaction: "This is an economy that has learned to manage very well through uncertainty," Morgan Stanley senior economist Robert Rosener tells the Times. "We've continually been surprised by the resilience of the US labor market."
(Read more jobs report stories.)

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