US economy adds 242,000 jobs as uncertainty looms

February 2016 Jobs Report

Despite global economic uncertainty the US economy is continuing to add jobs. 242,000 new positions were added in February, up from 172,000 in January. Analysts had predicted 190,000 new jobs.

Unemployment stayed at 4.9% last month, the lowest mark since February 2008 and the level that many experts consider “full employment.”

While solid employment increases were reported, wage growth grew by just 2.2% in February compared to a year ago. That’s below past gains of 2.5% or more in previous months. The Federal Reserve wants to see wages grow around 3.5% in a healthy economy.

While retail appears to be picking up and jobs are increasing in the US, the country has been experiencing a 5-month recession.

February 2016 - US Jobs Report

Four years ago the jobless rate was at 8.3% and the economic recovery was in a relatively early stage. Analysts at that time were worried about rising gas prices, high levels of consumer debt, and government layoffs.

Several reports released this week have been promising. Automobile sales are strong, personal income and spending are up, and even manufacturing held steady instead of giving up more ground.