The odds of a rate hike by the Fed next week just went up even more: The Labor Department released another solid unemployment report Friday morning. US employers added 235,000 jobs in February, more than expected, and the unemployment rate dropped from 4.8% to 4.7%, reports MarketWatch. The report is the first to reflect a full month under President Trump, and he quickly took notice by retweeting a Drudge Report headline declaring "GREAT AGAIN: +235,000."
Construction provided the main boost for the jobs increase, accounting for 58,000 of the new hires, notes a post at the Wall Street Journal. The report also showed that average hourly pay rose 2.8% compared to last February, which the AP characterizes as decent but below a benchmark increase of 3.5% that would typically be seen in a healthy economy. If anything gives the Fed pause in terms of its approach for the rest of the year, it would be this "somewhat sluggish" stat, notes the Journal. A rate hike by the Fed, which meets Tuesday and Wednesday, would be the third in 15 months. One analyst at investment banking firm Jeffries thinks it's a done deal: "We have a date with a rate hike," he tells CNBC in the wake of the report. "This is pure muscle across the board."