The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February jobs report on Friday, which blew past estimated projections. Instead of the median forecast of 200,000 by Bloomberg’s survey, the U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs to payrolls for the month.
The February jobs report continued the streak of adding more jobs than economists expected. Construction, private educational services, manufacturing, healthcare and mining drove most of the growth for the month. Professional and business services continued to trend up in February by adding 37,000 jobs to the economy. Financial activities showed little change month over month.
The unemployment dropped slightly to 4.7% from 4.8% in February and was down 0.2% year over year, meeting earlier predictions. Average hourly earnings also met expectations after months of disappointing reports, rising to 2.8% from the prior year.
Revisions to the January jobs report added an additional 11,000 jobs to nonfarm payrolls, coming in at +238,000. December was revised down from 157,000 to 155,000 making the overall changes in January and December 9,000 more than originally reported. Over the past three months, job gains have averaged 209,000 per month.
After months of strong jobs reports, the argument for raising interest rates has become stronger for the Fed’s meeting this week. If it happens, this will be the third time the Fed has raised interest rates since the U.S. financial crisis.