Employers probably added more jobs in February, but economists say there is no setback yet

A worker wearing a protective mask contains a pizza at a Costco store in San Francisco, California, on Wednesday, March 3, 2021.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Rental work probably improved in February as more of the economy reopened, but the winter weather could hamper some activity.

Economists expect 210,000 payrolls to be added in February, compared to just 49,000 in January, according to Dow Jones.

The unemployment rate is expected to have remained at 6.3%, but in the coming months the level is likely to continue to decline as more of the public is vaccinated and jobs in the service sector return.

The scope for job growth expectations is wide, with Citigroup economists expecting 410,000 salaries added in February.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is expected to release the work report at 8:30 a.m. Friday.

“After two months of softer monthly employment reports, we expect a solid increase in February jobs of 410 thousand. The reference period for the February payroll report is on the verge of reopening to increased activity restrictions and closing business during the winter months. The strength in our forecast is linked to hiring employees for leisure and hospitality, ‘the Citigroup economists wrote.

Moderate improvement expected

But Michael Gapen, chief economist at Barclays, says he does not expect as much power in February.

Gapen said there are signs involved for the hiring appointment in mid-February, and he expects only 100,000 jobs to be added.

“It is fair to expect that the momentum in the labor market will improve with the combination of reduced number of cases and general mitigation of restrictions, and the move away from adverse weather may give you a reflection of the number of employees in March,” he said. said.

“I think December was the trough,” Gapen said. “January was a little better and February and March should be a little better than that. I think the debate is how much there was in February versus March.”

He said he expects the weather to be a factor for the report, and that construction and manufacturing work is likely to be affected by this.

“I still think the most important numbers are the vaccination numbers, and the work will come after that,” Gapen said. “I think the vaccine information is still the first order information, and things like employment are the valid factors.”

Gapen said vaccinations are slightly ahead of his expectations and that he will expect herd immunity by the third quarter, depending on whether any variants of the virus hamper the effort to curb the pandemic.

He said the economy should return to normal by the third quarter, but the economy is still down about 10 million jobs and will have to speed up hiring.

“I think we will grow above normal growth in Q2 and Q3. I say something in the order of 500,000 per month in Q2, and 750,000 monthly in Q3,” he said.

Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton, said a year ago, February was the last month before the pandemic, and the unemployment rate was just 3.5%. She expects only 150,000 jobs to be added in February this year.

“It’s the standard of one year. It’s far from home,” she said. In April last year, more than 20 million jobs were lost in one month.

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