The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, alleviating concerns -- at least for the moment -- about the labor market after disappointing results in December and January.
Beyond the upside surprise on payrolls, featuring 162,000 private sector jobs and upward revisions totaling 25,000 for the prior two months, other notable datapoints in the report include:
- The unemployment rate ticked up to 6.7%, reflecting a 264,000 increase in the size of the labor force.
- The ranks of the long-term unemployed jumped by 200,000 to 3.8 million. "At a time when [long-term] unemployment benefits are being cut back, that means real pain for a lot of people," Greenhouse notes.
- Average hourly earnings rose 0.4%, bringing the year-over-year gain to 2.2%. "A lot of people haven't felt much of a gain but it's a gain