U.S. job growth slowed tremendously in February, but the unemployment rate fell as well, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s latest jobs report.
There were 20,000 jobs added last month, which continued an unprecedented run of 101 straight months of job gains. However, analysts had expected a gain of 172,000, according to MarketWatch, and the 20,000 figure was the weakest report since September 2017.
The unemployment rate fell to 3.8% from its 4% mark in January, which was aided by the return of government workers after the end of the partial federal shutdown in January.
In what remains a tight labor market, strong wage growth continues. Average hourly earnings increased by 11 cents an hour (0.4%) to $27.66 last month. The year-over-year gain is now 3.4%, the best annual gain since April 2009.
“Compensation professionals are keeping a close eye on the economy and in particular the pace of wage gains,” said Sue Holloway, CCP, CECP, director of executive compensation strategy at WorldatWork. “Organizations are feeling the pressure in this super-tight labor market, requiring them to increase wages and look for other ways to attract and retain talent.”
About the Author
Brett Christie is a staff writer at WorldatWork.