U.S. Job Growth Surprisingly Hits The Brakes In February

3 Possible Reasons For The Weak Numbers

After an expected 180,000 jobs were supposed to be added to the U.S. economy in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week that only 20,000 jobs were actually added, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%. While this is the worst jobs report that the U.S. economy has seen since September of 2017, it’s likely an outlier due to a number of key factors impacting employment figures.

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Despite most economists agreeing that there is nothing to be overly concerned about, there are three possible reasons that could have been impacting February’s weak employment numbers.


Unseasonably cold winter in the northeast has had a major impact on the construction industry. The weakest performing industry in February’s job numbers was construction despite it being one of the strongest industries over the past 12 months. This leads many economists to believe that the weak hiring in construction dragged down the overall numbers, but could return again in the next month or so as snow and temperatures normalize.


Weakening economic growth overseas, the partial government shutdown that ended in February, and international trade tensions could also being weighing on the February jobs report, however economists state this should not be taken as a sign of an imminent recession.


The simple strength of the economy, and the fact that the U.S. has had 101 consecutive months of job creation has produced a massive shortage in available workers. With fewer unemployed people looking for jobs, the economy remains in a “candidate’s market” that makes it difficult for many companies to find qualified talent. There also remains record numbers of job openings that are becoming tougher and tougher for employers to fill.

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Seasonal adjustments for the construction industry impacted by weather conditions are always difficult to account for. Between this and the other factors weighing on February hiring, the economy remains strong and is expected to post significantly higher numbers which will be released by the Bureau of Labor Statistic on Friday April 5, 2019.

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