Economy added 273,000 jobs in February
The U.S. economy added 273,000 jobs in the month of February according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economists were estimating that the economy would add about 175,000 jobs in February. Revisions from prior months also added 85,000 net jobs.
The unemployment rate nudged down to 3.5%, and the average number of hours worked by Americans rose slightly to 34.3 per week.
The report is seen as very positive for the economy, though the data is backward-looking. Notably, the effects of the coronavirus on economic activity have still not appeared in official data.
“It’s certainly a relief that we had a strong tailwind,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “Service, leisure and hospitality, these are all very vulnerable. The good news is that these workers had some cushion ahead of time. It helps blunt the blow.”
The lack of evidence that the coronavirus has hindered the economy has not stopped the stock markets from being extremely volatile this week, consistently swinging back and forth with significant gains or losses.
As of Friday morning, the S&P 500 was down over 2% on the day.