Posted: 8:51 am Friday, March 9th, 2018
By Jamie Dupree
The U.S. economy showed more signs of strength last month, as a new federal report showed 313,000 jobs were added in the month of February, the largest monthly increase during the Trump Administration, and the best month of job growth since July of 2016, as the nation’s unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent.
The Department of Labor also revised job growth numbers upward in both December and January, adding another 64,000 jobs.
The news left Republicans even more optimistic about economic progress under President Trump.
“This report shows continued momentum in our economy,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX). “And with the help of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, our economy is finally starting to fire on all cylinders.”
“Strongest job growth in a year and a half shows tax cuts and regulatory rollback are working,” said Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN).
“The American economy continues to grow!” added Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL).
— BLS-Labor Statistics (@BLS_gov) March 9, 2018
The areas where jobs increased included construction, retail, manufacturing, and health care. You can read the full labor report at this link.
Job gains have averaged 242,000 over the last three months; economists have long said that the average needs to be over 300,000 to spur even greater growth, and to help those who have struggled in the aftermath of the 2008 Wall Street collapse.
For months, President Trump has said that his economic plans will give a new shot of confidence to both businesses and consumers, and create a new surge in economic growth.
“Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high. Business confidence is through the roof, with a record number of small business owners saying that now is a good time to expand,” the President said earlier this week.
In terms of actual job growth, though, the numbers under President Trump have lagged the last two years of the Obama Administration. This chart shows the monthly increases in jobs (the numbers are in thousands).
After an increase of seven cents per hour in January, the Department of Labor reported that average hourly earnings in February rose by four cents to $26.75.
One of the more interesting pieces of data from the February report was that the size of the labor force grew by 806,000, indicating many more people were now looking for work – that is the largest jump since January of 2003.
As for the jobless rate of black Americans – a statistic that President Trump has referred to often in recent months – after a sharp increase in January, that rate took a big step in the right direction in February, just off the all-time low set in December.
The report came a day after President Trump slapped new tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, a move which some economists believe could slow economic growth by raising consumer prices, and possibly spurring retaliatory trade measures overseas, slowing American exports.