U.S. job creation beats forecasts in February, wage inflation misses

The U.S monthly employment report showed that the economy created more jobs than expected in February although wage inflation missed forecasts, according to official data released on Friday.

Non-farm payrolls (NFP) rose 235,000 in February, compared to the rise of 238,000 in the first month of the year that was revised from the initial increase of 227,000. The data beat the consensus estimate for the creation of 200,000 jobs.

The jobless rate decreased as expected to 4.7%, from the prior 4.8%.

Average hourly earnings rose month-on-month by 0.2%, compared to the prior increase of 0.2%, which was revised from a 0.1% advance. Analysts had expected a gain of 0.3%.

Year-on-year, wage inflation rose 2.8%, in line with expectations and the prior 2.8% increase that was revised up from the initial reading of a 2.5% advance.

The increase in wages is being closely monitored by the Federal Reserve for evidence of diminishing slack in the labor market and upward pressure on inflation.

Additionally, the private sector created more of the new job contracts than expected in February with a total of 227,000, compared to consensus expectations for 193,000. January’s number was revised down to 221,000 private nonfarm payrolls, from the prior reading of 237,000.

Government payrolls increased by 8,000 last month, compared to the 17,000 public jobs created in January, revised from an initial decline of 10,000 positions.

The participation rate edged forward to 63.0% in February, from the prior reading of 62.9%.

The U6 unemployment rate, that includes those workers who are working part-time for purely economic reasons, decreased to 9.2% last month from January’s reading of 9.4%.

Furthermore, the average weekly hours remained unchanged at 34.4 in February, in line with consensus expectations.

Immediately after the release, the dollar weakened against major rivals. Specifically, the U.S. Dollar Index traded at 101.75, compared to 101.89 earlier. EUR/USD traded at 1.0619, from 1.0606 before the release, USD/JPY traded at 115.26, from 115.35 earlier, and GBP/USD was at 1.2162, compared to the previous 1.2153.

U.S. futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street. The blue-chip Dow futures gained 0.49%, S&P 500 futures rose 0.54% while the Nasdaq 100 futures traded up 0.44%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,199.55 a troy ounce, compared to $1,198.15 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $49.61 a barrel from $49.56 earlier.