Unemployment Ticks Up & Wage Growth Slows – Labor Market Update

The unemployment rate rose in February to 3.9%, the highest level in two years. The Department of Labor also reported that wage growth slowed in February from the previous month. The Department made substantial revisions in February to previous data, clarifying the slow down in wage growth more clearly. Wage growth in February decreased significantly from the beginning of the year in January, surprising various analysts and economists. One of the Labor Department’s substantial revisions included data showing that the economy had added 353,000 positions in January, yet later reported that the number was actually 229,000.

Data tracked by the Labor Department also includes who acquired and lost jobs. The Department identified that native born Americans with a job fell by 881,000 over the past year to 129.3 million, while foreign born workers with a job rose by 1.5 million to 31 million over the same period.

Sectors experiencing employment gains include healthcare, government, and food services. Of concern to some analysts is that employment gains have been primarily concentrated in various lower paying positions. Some argue that the recent employment and wage data may be signaling a slowdown in the job market along with cooling wage gains across multiple industries. Economists perceive these labor market dynamics as indicative of a slowing economic environment.

Source: Department of Labor

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