Jobs Report: Job Market Roars to Life in February

March 9, 2018

The latest jobs numbers are out from the federal government. What do they mean for job seekers and employers? Here’s a quick take from Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain:

This morning’s jobs report revealed a booming job market in February, with the economy adding a whopping 313,000 new jobs. Job gains were also revised upward for January and December, painting an overall picture of an economy that’s heating up in response to recent tax cuts — despite already hovering near full employment.

Despite strong job gains, the nation’s unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent in February, a 17-year low. Most economists predict that rate will continue to fall in 2018 — the economy only needs to add roughly 110,000 new jobs each month to keep every American who wants a job gainfully employed, so each month we exceed that number puts downward pressure on today’s already very low unemployment rate.

As expected, last month’s unexpectedly strong wage gains did not carry over into February. Average hourly wages grew just 2.6 percent from a year ago in February, on track with the slow pace of average pay we’ve seen over the past year. In Glassdoor’s real-time Local Pay Reports, we’ve seen sluggish pay growth throughout the past year, with median base pay for full-time workers rising just 1.0 percent nationally in February.

Among industries, the fastest job gains in February were in construction (+61,000 jobs), followed by a surprising gain in retail jobs (+50,300 jobs), professional and business services (+50,000 jobs), manufacturing (+31,000 jobs), health care (+29,100 jobs) and finance (+28,000 jobs). The weakest job gains reported were in information (which includes most media) (-12,000 jobs), utilities (+1,200 jobs), wholesale trade (+5,800 jobs), and mining and logging (+8,000 jobs).

Today’s strong jobs report marks 89 consecutive months of positive job gains for the economy, an all-time record since the 1930s. Our current economic expansion has now hit 104 months, which is the third-longest American expansion on record since the 1850s.

Can today’s economy — already hovering at full employment — continue this pace of job gains, in the wake of recent federal tax cuts? Even fiscal stimulus has its limits. As the economy runs near full speed, there is growing risk of overheating, asset bubbles, rising inflation, and overvalued equities — something we’ll be watching closely for signs of in the coming year.

To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about today’s jobs report or to discuss labor market trends, contact pr at Glassdoor dot com. For the latest economics and labor market updates, follow @adchamberlain on Twitter and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.