The February jobs report from the Labor Department will be closely scrutinized by Fed policymakers, economists, and investors for any hints that the job market is slowing and inflationary pressures from wages are easing.
One reason February’s job numbers are so highly-anticipated is because January’s numbers were so off-the-wall.
Last month, the Labor Department reported more than half-a-million workers added to payrolls at the same time big companies were announcing mass layoffs.
“So it’s kind of hard to take it at face value that gigantic 517,000 job gain.” Dan North at Allianz Trade said. Before January, he said, “Job gains had been down five months in a row.”
According to North, job openings are now falling while unemployment claims are rising. But there’s also evidence of continued strength in the labor market.
Jim McCoy at ManpowerGroup says while some tech firms are laying workers off, “Hiring for tech employees in other sectors is up, because every company is a technology company at this point.”
If the job market stays hot, workers can keep demanding big raises — which is inflationary — and which the Fed will keep fighting with higher interest rates.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.