State of the Labor Market

February 2019 Jobs Report: No Cause For Alarm—Yet

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While the economy only created 20,000 jobs in February, no one should panic yet.

There have only been two months in this recovery that created fewer jobs than this month, but both were followed by strong job growth. At this moment, there is no reason to think that we will not see a return to solid job growth next month. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate is 3.8%, down from 4% last month.

At the same time, wage growth continued to accelerate, hitting 3.4% for all private-sector workers. In addition, the share of workers who were in part-time work but would have preferred full-time hours fell to its lowest level in this recovery. Part of that fall reflected a recovery from last month, when we saw a jump in that number due to the government shutdown.

Overall, this report shouldn’t give economy watchers any reason to worry. Household data on workers showed that workers are benefitting from the length of this recovery, and data on employers is likely to bounce back next month.

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