e latest reading from the US labor market showed strength but not so much that investors seemed very worried raging inflation is about to sweep over the American economy. Hiring seemed to be happening everywhere in February with 313,000 new jobs added. There were big gains in construction, thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures, and retailers went on a hiring spree after a holiday shopping season that wasn't as bad as feared.
I'm Conway Gittens in New York. Major investors and policymakers were focused on workers' wages. It was in last month's report, after all, that showed a spike in annual wage gains to a nine year high that sparked one of the biggest sell-offs in Wall Street history and weeks of volatility.
The numbers released on Friday did not show the same thing, wage gains up only $0.4 last month. That was half than the month before that. That alone is going a long way in cooling down rampant worries that the Federal Reserve will have to raise rates aggressively to prevent the US economy from overheating.
But the strongest job gains in a year and a half means the Fed is still likely to hike interest rates later in March. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1%. For Wall Street, there couldn't be a more perfect scenario, the Dow surge 440 points Friday and the NASDAQ closed at a record high.
Some economists are willing to credit Trump's tax cuts as part of the reason for the hiring surge last month but caution, what Trump gives, the new steel tariffs may take away.