“Hiring accelerated sharply in February as restaurants and other hospitality businesses reopened, adding 379,000 to U.S. payrolls and fueling renewed growth as the coronavirus pandemic eases,” WSJ writes.
Why It Matters: With February’s gain, it’s the second straight month that U.S. employers added jobs. The increase marks a “sharp pickup from earlier this winter” and could point to signs of economic recovery.
Looking At Rates: Separate data reported the unemployment rate at 6.2% last month. It’s a steep decline from the 14.8% high in April 2020. It’s still above pre-pandemic levels — to be fair, unemployment was nearing a 50-year low at that point — but the “rate may also understate the degree of job loss a year into the pandemic, many economists say, because millions of Americans, particularly women, have dropped out of the labor force.”
Behind The Rising Numbers: With Covid-19 vaccines rolling out and governments reducing restrictions on business, economic activity is picking up and could lead to more robust hiring.
- Hospitality, which lost around 4 million jobs last year, added 355,000 jobs.
- Even still, the U.S. still had roughly 9.5 million fewer jobs in February compared to a year earlier, just before the pandemic hit.
Looking Ahead: Things have picked up in recent weeks, but the Congressional Budget Office and many economists have pointed to 2024 as the time when things fully return to normal.
Ironically, in today’s market, the better the economic data, the worse it is for the stock market. The better the economic recovery, the more likely inflation and rate increases are, which are bad for stocks, at least in the short-term…