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Slight Increase In Windsor's Unemployment Rate

Slight Increase In Windsor's Unemployment Rate

But, the Labor Department noted that gains in the clothing and general merchandise retail sectors, which added 33,000 new positions, suffered some distortion that made the gains appear stronger.

Fed policy makers are widely anticipated to raise interest rates when they next meet March 20-21 in Jerome Powell's first gathering as chairman.

The Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs in February, beating expectations by 100K.

"February data confirmed our suspicion that last month's strong wage figure was largely an illusion, with a tame 0.1% gain in the latest month taking the annual rate back close to the average of the past couple of years", said Andrew Grantham, senior economist at CIBC World Markets. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 68 cents (+2.6%). The employment-population ratio increased by 0.3 percentage point to 60.4 percent in February, following 4 months of little change.

In addition to this, workers saw their pay increase as average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents to $26.75, which follows a 7-cent gain in January.

But wage growth slowed in February. Walmart announced an increase in entry-level wages for hourly employees at its US stores effective February.

"With the unemployment rate below most estimates of its natural rate, wages appear to have accelerated a little of late after a period of relatively muted increases", Quarles told his audience.

While Powell said there was no evidence of the economy overheating, he added "the thing we don't want to have happen is to get behind the curve".

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent, the lowest since 2000, as the labor force swelled by 806,000.

If the economy were really at full employment, wages should be growing much faster than this - somewhere in the range of 3.5 to 4 percent.

The pace of worker pay gains will again top the list of things Wall Street will be watching when the February jobs report is released early Friday.

In February, durable goods manufacturers added another 32,000 workers on net, but employment at nondurable goods firms was off by 1,000. If that trend continues - and it's worth adding the usual caveat that each month's jobs numbers are subject to revision and statistical error - there's no reason to think this expansion is reaching its natural end. The sector is being supported by strong domestic and global demand as well as a weaker dollar. "We were able to create enough jobs to accommodate new seekers and keep the unemployment rate steady".

The average workweek for production and non-supervisory employees on private non-farm payrolls increased by 0.2 hour to 33.8 hours.


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