According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, February of 2020 saw higher-than-expected job growth and a slight fall in unemployment
Job gains increased to 57,000 in the healthcare and social assistance sectors. Food and drink establishments saw an additional 53,000 positions added. Government employees also had a notable gain of 45,000 jobs, and construction was close with 42,000 jobs. Economist Daniel Zhao said, “February’s jobs report exceeded expectations, revealing strong jobs growth in a rearview mirror glance at a job market not yet touched by the unfolding coronavirus outbreak”. Professional and technical services also had job growth with an additional 32,000 positions added, and financial activities added 26,000 positions.
In January 2020, average hourly wages rose by nine cents to $28.52. Over the past year, average hourly wages have increased by three percent. The robust US jobs report surpassed many economists’ expectations, but have not considered the impacts of COVID-19. Zhao said it is likely the pandemic will disrupt business operations; the state of the labor market will depend on how businesses and policymakers respond to the evolving outbreak.
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