According to government data released Friday, The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in February, exceeding economists’ expectations and probably clearing the way for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates this month
The unemployment rate decreased to 4.7%, compared with 4.8% in January, and wages increased by 6 cents to $26.09 in February, after a 5-cent rise the month before.
On Friday, U.S. stock markets opened higher but they stayed below the historic highs they reached on March 1.
In recent months, measures of business and consumer confidence have increased, because of the continued recovery of the economy and prospects of a more business-friendly environment under the Trump administration. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index, which measures how Americans rate current economic conditions, rose to the highest level in its nine-year history in March.
Trump retweeted a tweet by Drudge Report on Friday morning, containing a link to a news story on the jobs numbers.
Sean Spicer, Press Secretary, also took credit for the Trump administration.
The labor market during Trump’s presidency is first captured by the job report. It’s based on data collected during the week of February 12–18, when Trump had been in office for more than three weeks.
Trump’s economic plans:
Stock markets were pushed to record highs in recent weeks thanks to Trump’s ambitious pledges to slash corporate taxes, cut regulations and boost spending on infrastructure. However, some economists question if growth could be weighed down by other pledges, such as a federal workforce hiring freeze, a reduction in immigration and a more combative attitude toward international trade.
For 94 straight months, the U.S. economy has now grown, which is the third longest expansion on record. However, growth is slower than the previous times. Economists believe that the country has improved a lot since the recession, adding about 16 million jobs since the beginning of 2010.
Much of the hiring last month was by educational services, health care and mining. Employment in the manufacturing sector was increased thanks to increasing demand from overseas markets. Also, unseasonably warm weather in many states allowed crews to work through February which helped push up Construction employment
Trump had previously questioned the accuracy of the official unemployment rate claiming that it was actually as high as 42 percent. This prompted officials of the National Association of Business Economists to circulate a letter to Congress claiming concern for a lack of appreciation for government economic data, and calling on policymakers to support it.
Federal Reserve has been persuaded by the recent strong economic data to lift interest rates, which will make borrowing a little more expensive for businesses and consumers.
The Fed has been trying to balance increasing interest rates fast enough to avoid inflation, but not so rapidly as to crush improvements in the labor market. The central bank forecasts that this year will see three rate increases.