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It's A Beat: Non-Farm Payrolls Smash Expectations

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It's A Beat: Non-Farm Payrolls Smash Expectations
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The U.S. non-farm payroll numbers topped expectations. Although the beat is an indication that the economy is improving and a positive for the dollar, the bad hourly earnings took some sheen off the report.

Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 242,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, according to a release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Economists, on average, expected 190,000 at the rate of 4.9 percent.

Employment gains occurred in healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and private educational services. Job losses continued in mining.

Related Link: Jobs Data Roundup: Jobless Claims Rise, Hourly Wages Up Slightly

In February, the unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, was unchanged. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.6 percentage point and 831,000, respectively.

However, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by $0.03 to $25.35, following an increase of $0.12 in January. Average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent over the year. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees remained unchanged at $21.32.

The BLS said change in total non-farm payroll employment for December was revised from increase of 262,000 to 271,000, and the change for January was revised from 151,000 to 172,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 30,000 more than previously reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 228,000 per month.

Meanwhile, U.S. private payrolls for the month of February came in at 230,000 versus consensus estimate of 185,000.

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