United States: Job gains exceed expectations again in February
Total non-farm payrolls grew by 311,000 in February, down from 504,000 in January. Markets were expecting a gain of slightly over 200k. The gains in employment were particularly robust in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, government, and health care. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6% in February from 3.4% in January, but still hovered close to multi-decade lows.
Our analysts see the labor market loosening slightly in the coming quarters as economic activity cools, although the unemployment rate is forecast to remain low by historical standards.