By the Numbers

Featuring brief segments of economic analysis from our senior economist Michael Bazdarich, PhD.

Sign up to receive an email as pertinent data are released.

Private Sector Payroll Jobs Rise 288,000 in February

Headline payroll jobs showed a strong increase in February, with total jobs up 295,000 and private-sector jobs up 288,000. There were mild downward revisions to the January gains, but those still left a strong increase of 1,258,000 over the last four months together.

The accompanying chart shows monthly gains in the two series we regularly focus on in these commentaries: total private-sector jobs and private-sector jobs excluding construction and real estate. This latter series is especially relevant presently given the seasonal fluctuations that construction and retailing always undergo this time of year. Net of those seasonal sectors (blue line), job growth was above-trend in February, after falling slightly below trend in January, and that after very strong gains in November and December. So, even without construction and retailing, there has been a substantial pick-up in job growth over the last four months, following five years of slower trends.

Has the economy picked up in line with the job growth acceleration? Well, there hasn’t been any sign of that yet, although it is too early to tell for sure. Output and spending numbers show little net change in recent months, even before any effects of severe winter weather. While the response of economic output is still unclear, job growth itself surely has been stronger of late, and we have the markets moving today in response to that.

In another sign of recovering labor markets, the “employment rate” (also known as the employment-population ratio) rose again to 59.3%, bringing it almost back to the 59.4% rate of 2009 at the start of the expansion. It is still way below the 63.4% rate that held at the outset of the recession in 2007, but there has been a marked improvement there over the past 18 months.

Private Sector Job Growth
Private Sector Job Growth Chart
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. As of 28 Feb 15

Michael Bazdarich

Product Specialist/Economist

Mike brings more than 40 years of experience to his position. "By the Numbers" will address economic data releases that are pertinent to a broad range of investors.

Prior to joining the Firm in 2005, Mike ran his own consulting firm, MB Economics. He earned his PhD in Economics at the University of Chicago.

Sign up to receive an email as pertinent data are released.

© Western Asset Management Company 2017. This publication is the property of Western Asset Management Company and is intended for the sole use of its clients, consultants, and other intended recipients. It should not be forwarded to any other person. Contents herein should be treated as confidential and proprietary information. This material may not be reproduced or used in any form or medium without express written permission.
Past results are not indicative of future investment results. Investments are not guaranteed and you may lose money. This publication is for informational purposes only and reflects the current opinions of Western Asset Management. Information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but cannot be guaranteed. Opinions represented are not intended as an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase or sale of any security and are subject to change without notice. Statements in this material should not be considered investment advice. Employees and/or clients of Western Asset Management may have a position in the securities mentioned. This publication has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on this information, you should consider its appropriateness having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is your responsibility to be aware of and observe the applicable laws and regulations of your country of residence. Potential investors in emerging markets should be aware that investment in these markets can involve a higher degree of risk. Any forecast, projection or target is there to provide you with an indication only and is not guaranteed in any way.
Western Asset Management Company Distribuidora de Títulos e Valores Mobiliários Limitada is authorised and regulated by Comissão de Valores Mobiliários and Banco Central do Brasil. Western Asset Management Company Pty Ltd ABN 41 117 767 923 is the holder of the Australian Financial Services Licence 303160. Western Asset Management Company Pte. Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 200007692R is a holder of a Capital Markets Services Licence for fund management and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Western Asset Management Company Ltd is a registered financial instruments dealer whose business is investment advisory or agency business, investment management, and Type II Financial Instruments Dealing business with the registration number KLFB (FID) No. 427, and members of JIAA (membership number 011-01319) and JITA. Western Asset Management Company Limited (“WAMCL”) is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”). In the UK this communication is a financial promotion solely intended for professional clients as defined in the FCA Handbook and has been approved by WAMCL.