United States employment update – February 2019
The U.S. economy added only 20,000 net new jobs in February, the lowest level since September 2017 and essentially zero growth after more than 300,000 new jobs in January. At the same time, unemployment dropped to 3.8% on the back of a 45,000-person contraction in the civilian labor force and limited, but still positive, employment growth. At the industry level, only professional and business services and to a lesser extent wholesale trade escaped the slowdown this month, while construction saw a net contraction of 31,000 jobs. This pause is likely somewhat of an exaggeration and deviation from the norm, but is indicative of shifting labor market dynamics.