WASHINGTON (AP) – The rent stumbled in February, with US employers adding just 20,000 jobs, the minimum monthly profit of nearly one and a half years. However, the decline in employment may have been depressed by harsh winter weather and the state’s partial shutdown.
Last month’s weak profit came after employers had put 311,000 jobs in January, mostly for almost a year. Over the past three months, employment growth averaged a solid 186,000, enough to reduce unemployment over time.
And despite the lukewarm pace of hiring in February, the government’s monthly job report showed some positive signs Friday: Average hourly wages last month increased 3.4 percent from the previous year ̵
1; the faster year’s decade increase. Unemployment also fell to 3.8 percent, close to the lowest level in five decades, from 4 percent in January.
Unseasonably cold weather, which affects such industries as buildings and restaurants, hit some parts of the country in February. And the 35-day suspension that ended at the end of January is likely to have affected the calculation of employment growth.
Nevertheless, the employment gap due to signs of growth slows down due to a weaker global economy, a trade war between the United States and China, and signs of caution among consumers. These factors have led many economists to predict weaker growth during the first three months of this year.
Faint employment and employment forces in February were widespread in the industry. Construction decreased 31,000 jobs, mostly in more than five years. Manufacturing only produced 4,000 jobs. Dealers cut 6,100. Job growth in a category that includes mostly restaurants and hotels was unchanged last month after adding a huge 89,000 profit in January.
Most analysts expect companies to continue to rent and growth will recover in the April-June quarter. However, it will be more difficult than usual to get an accurate reading on the economy because many data reports are still delayed by the government’s partial suspension.
Meanwhile, there are warning signs. Consumer confidence fell sharply in January, behind the suspension and a sharp fall in share prices in December. And the Americans spent less during the winter holidays, where consumption declined in December by no more than five years.
Home sales fell last year and price gains slow down after the average rate of a 30-year mortgage reached almost 5 percent by year. The sale of new homes also cratered late last year before they were held in December. And US companies have cut their orders for equipment and machinery over the past two months, a sign that they are uncertain about their customer needs.
The economy is expected to slow down to an annual growth rate of just 1 percent in the first three months of this year, down from 2.6 percent in the October-December quarter. Growth reached almost 3 percent for the whole of last year, the strongest rate since 2015.
Nevertheless, economists are expected to recover in the April-June quarter, and there are already signs of one: Consumer confidence increased in February along with the stock market.
And more Americans signed an agreement to buy housing in January, driven by lower mortgage loans. Analysts have forecast that annual growth will exceed 2 per cent next quarter.