Announced this morning, the economy added just 20,000 jobs in February, much less than the 180k expected. Jobs in construction declined, while jobs in the services and health care industries increased. The unemployment rate fell two tenths to 3.8%, more than expected. Average Hourly Earnings grew 0.4% for February and has increased 3.4% on an annual basis, also more than expected. A very weak headline jobs number which will likely cause some angst for the markets, especially when coupled with recent retail sales and housing data along with a weaker growth outlook announced by the European Central Bank yesterday. However, the unemployment rate remains low and wages are growing above 3% on an annual basis. The Federal Reserve will need to remain vigilant should jobs growth continue to moderate in 2019. In all, both equity futures and bond yields are lower heading into the market open following the announcement.
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