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  • Writer's pictureJoe Carson

Strong Jobs & Hours Data---Raw Data Showed A Gain of 1.1 Million Workers

February's jobs data should eliminate any mention of faulty seasonal factors, making the employment picture look brighter than it is. In February, payroll employment increased by 275,000, with the raw data showing a gain of 1.1 million before seasonal factors were applied. It's worth noting that January's initial gain of 353,000 was revised downward to 229,000, but the two-month average of 252,000 still points to robust labor markets.

The workweek for non-supervisory workers increased significantly by 0.3 hours to 33.8, reversing January's weather-related decline. The gain in hours and increased jobs led to a solid 1% gain in aggregate hours worked, indicating substantial gains in income, production, and overall GDP growth. Non-supervisory workers ' wages rose 0.2%, standing 4.5% higher than year-ago levels.

Overall, the jobs data show that the economy is still growing well above its potential, compelling the Fed to maintain its stance on official rates and continuing QT.

(Note on seasonal factors: several analysts are always quick to point to seasonal factors when the economic data comes in above or below expectations. Seasonal factors are far from perfect, but government statistical agencies use them to make every month even. That means even from a weather standpoint--- cold months of January and February being equal to the warm months of July and August---even from a holiday standpoint, with November and December equal to non-holiday months---and equal to months of 31 days with months of 30 and 28 days. Seasonally adjusted data usually even out any anomaly, but it may take a few months to determine the underlying trend. Payroll job growth of 265,000 over past three months is exceptionally strong, and well above the 230,000 average monthly gain of the past year. )

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