The good news just keeps on coming as far as the domestic economy is concerned, with the latest report emanating from the U.S. Labor Department. Specifically, the government at 8:30 (EST) this morning reported that the nation's non-farm payrolls jumped by 236,000 last month, easily bettering the consensus forecast of 155,000. That number also was much better than the downwardly revised gain of 119,000 jobs posted in January. (Initially, the January gain in the nation's non-farm payrolls had been estimated at 157,000.)
Of course, all of the news was not good. For example, in February, the number of long-term unemployment, that is those who have been jobless for 27 weeks, or more, was essentially unchanged at 4.8 million. The long-term jobless, meantime, also accounted for just over 40% of the total of those without employment.
Also, the number of persons employed part time because they are unable to secure full-time work, remained at 8.0 million, which was also essentially unchanged from January.
As to the good news, the 236,000 jobs added were, as noted, far better than forecast, with the job gains spread across professional and business services, which added 73,000 payrolls last month, construction, where 48,000 positions were added, the health care industry, which saw 32,000 jobs created in February. Employment also continued to trend higher in retail trade, where yesterday we saw most of the reporting chains across the country post moderate sales improvement last month.
Moreover, the average workweek edged up by 0.1 hours, to 34.5 hours last month, while average hourly earnings for all employees rose by four cents to $23.82.
Taken as a whole, this was a very welcome report, and further underscores the improving outlook for the domestic economy in the fast-concluding quarter, which now looks as though it will see gross domestic product growth of about 2%, if not more, should things break right over the final weeks of the period. At the time of this article's writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.