Economic Commentary – Week of 03.19.2019
AN ATTENTION-GRABBING JOBS REPORT
A disappointing February jobs report, released March 8, has increased concerns about a slowing U.S. economy among some market participants. However, we believe the report did little to change the overall economic picture. In fact, job growth and modestly rising wages remain strengths of the current economy and continue to support consumer activity. The economy added 20,000 jobs in February, the slowest pace of growth since September 2017. While that level of gains would be a concern if it were to continue, it comes against a backdrop of robust jobs gains the prior two months, and looking back a year, annual job growth remains well above the cycle average. The economy is slowing from a strong 2018, but we still expect above-trend growth in 2019. We will be monitoring how things develop, but overall we still believe strong labor markets with manageable wage growth will remain supportive of the overall economic picture, even taking the February slowdown into account.
KEY TAKEAWAYS IN THIS WEEKS ISSUE
- February’s job growth was disappointing, but it followed the biggest two-month gain since 2016.
- Job growth and modestly rising wages remain strengths of the current economy.
- We don’t see signs of February’s jobs report impacting growth expectations or the Fed’s path.