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March 6, 2020

Jobs Report a Shot in the Arm for Economy

February’s report was very strong, but there are reasons to expect trouble ahead.

Amidst the general hysteria over coronavirus, the stock market has experienced wild volatility. That uncertainty didn’t extend to the February jobs market.

The U.S. economy created a remarkable 273,000 jobs in February, vastly surpassing expectations, while the December and January reports were revised upwards by 85,000 for a three-month average of 243,000. The headline unemployment rate dropped one notch to 3.5%, while the fuller U-6 measure edged up to 7%. That’s actually a sign of health, however, as more people are searching for jobs. Wage growth held steady at 3%.

That isn’t to say past performance is any guarantee of future results.

Coronavirus is still interrupting markets all over the world, and it could bring jobs numbers down drastically in coming months. Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank, warned, “This could be the last perfect employment report the market gets for some time.” Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst for Bankrate, argued, “The new reality amid tremendous uncertainty is the world has experienced a seismic shift reflected recently in financial markets in anticipation of potentially damaging economic impacts still to come since the February jobs data was collected.”

In other words, stay tuned but don’t panic. The latter is exactly what Democrats want, but it’s not what American families need. The U.S. economy is in a strong position to handle adversity.

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