February’s hiring surge points to a U.S. job market that remains robust, and might even be strengthening. AFP / mari matsuri
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U.S. employers went on a hiring binge in February, adding 313,000 jobs, the most in any month since July 2016, and drawing hundreds of thousands of people into the job market. At the same time, average wages rose 2.6 percent over the past 12 months, a slowdown from January's accelerated pace, which had spooked investors because it raised fears of high inflation. Friday's jobs report from the government revised down January's year-over-year wage gain by one-tenth of a point to 2.8 percent.February's hiring surge points to a U.S. job market that remains robust, and might even be strengthening. Job growth has averaged 242,000 over the past three months, above 2017's monthly pace of 187,000 . The proportion of adults who either have a job or are looking for one rose to 63 percent from 62.7 percent.In the meantime, economists are calculating how the Trump administration's decision Friday to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum might affect the job market.The inflation gauge that the Fed tends to monitor most closely shows an increase of just 1.7 percent from a year earlier, below the central bank's 2 percent target level.
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