The US economy added only 20,000 jobs in February — a surprisingly low number that bucked the trend of huge jobs gains in recent months. Wages posted the strongest year-over-year percentage gain since 2009, at 3.4%, according to our Lydia DePillis.
Here's what analysts are saying.
Steve Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group:
Today’s lower-than-expected job numbers may appear particularly disappointing ... however, sustaining over 200,000 jobs each month for three consecutive months while maintaining such a low unemployment rate is an increasingly unreasonable expectation for the economy."
Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group:
After two very good months in December and January, we were due for a weaker number. I do expect to see job gains bounce back next month, but not at the pace of 2018."
Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Stifel Investments:
The reason for the wild monthly volatility is anyone’s guess. A lot of fingers are being pointed to the government shutdown. We don’t know exactly why we’re seeing this crazy swing. But it reinforces why you can’t focus on one data point alone."
Mike Fratantoni, SVP and chief economist at Mortgage Bankers Association:
The decline in the unemployment rate and the further increase in wage growth shows a job market that is still quite strong, even if we may be near the top of the current economic cycle."
Heidi Shierholz, former chief economist for the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: