Published: Sun, March 10, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Unemployment rate falls in region, remains steady in state

Unemployment rate falls in region, remains steady in state

After a blowout January jobs report, market watchers will get a pulse on the current state of the US labor market when the Labor Department releases February's jobs report at 8:30 a.m. ET. The following month, the USA economy added 260,000 jobs. Average hourly earnings rose more strongly than in January, at 0.4 percent month-over-month and 3.4 percent year-over-year.

Over the month, the private sector added 11,200 jobs as gains occurred in Leisure and Hospitality; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; Other Services; Education and Health Services; Financial Activities; Construction; and Other Services. Manufacturing gained just 4,000 jobs - far fewer than the 21,000 that were added in January.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average appeared to react negatively to the jobs report.

A separate government report on Friday showed new-home construction rebounded in January by more than expected as building permits hit a nine-month high, indicating the housing market is stabilising amid lower mortgage rates.

Poor exports data leads Chinese shares to fall sharply
The euro held near its lowest level since 2017 after the European Central Bank slashed its growth forecasts Thursday. Prime Minister Theresa May's revised Brexit deal on Tuesday, 20 days before Britain is scheduled to leave the EU.

But some are concerned that the US economy may be catching a cold as Europe, China and much of the developing world struggles.

Job seekers speak with potential employers at a City of Boston Neighborhood Career Fair on May Day in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., May 1, 2017. Others have said the five-week government shutdown - which delayed release of the jobs data - also played a role in the January spike, as idled government employees who found other jobs temporarily may have been double-counted.

The state's labor force participation rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point to 67.9 percent. Consumer confidence fell sharply in January, held back by the shutdown and by a steep fall in stock prices in December.

The unemployment rate fell slightly to 3.8 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. Last year also marked the state's ninth consecutive year of job growth. And U.S. businesses have cut their orders for equipment and machinery for the past two months, a sign that they are uncertain about their customer demand. Growth reached almost 3 percent for all of past year, the strongest pace since 2015. Analysts have forecast that annual growth will top 2 percent next quarter. Wages have generally been rising fastest for the lowest earning workers, a sign that it's getting harder to find people for all kinds of jobs even in restaurants and retail and that minimum wage increases in 19 states in January are having an impact.

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