The outlook for household spending got a big boost from strong job gains in February—especially in service jobs, according to a first look at the latest topline U.S. jobs numbers.
The job count increased by 242,000 in February. Four of the last five months have now registered strong job gains averaging well above 200,000 jobs per month. The unemployment rate stayed at 4.9%.
The ominous note in February was an energy-related decline in goods-related jobs, except for construction jobs. Energy/mining and logging jobs declined by 18,000 in February on a seasonally adjusted basis.
See the table summary for more detail.
The energy-related job declines are a reminder that the mid-section of the country remains most vulnerable to weakness in spending among households. For more on these regional threats, see the last look at state and local job trends at this link.
The best prospects by industry are currently in construction (especially specialty trades), health care, retail, and restaurants/food service. Prospects also remain good—despite slowing in February—in various professional and business fields.
See the @Home post at this link for more about job prospects by metro market.
Impact @Work: Although the overall jobs numbers suggest sustained growth, they do not translate into better prospects for all businesses. Weakness is increasingly concentrated in energy-dependent places in the Mid-West, while strength is emerging in the West and Southeast.
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