U.S. Outlook: An early spring for the jobs report

Scott Anderson
Posted by Scott Anderson
Chief Economist

Spring in February: Is it global warming, stock market gains, Donald Trump, or a rekindling of animal spirits that helped push up the job growth numbers last month?

Graph showing recent rise in the labor force participation rate.The payroll report for February did not disappoint. Job gains were 235K; our forecast was for 220K.

For more on these developments, see highlights of my report below, followed by a link to the full U.S. Outlook, delivered on March 10.

Key observations:
  • The increased momentum could have something to do with unusually mild winter weather playing havoc on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ seasonal adjustment factors.
  • Average hourly earnings growth has been accelerating as the economy rapidly absorbs remaining slack in the labor market.
  • A March Fed rate hike is a near-certainty now with this strong payroll report under our belt.
  • The report also raises the possibility of another rate hike as soon as the June meeting, though our baseline forecast is still for a September move.


Click here to read my full report.

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