Despite continuing signs of a strong economy, U.S. businesses created only 20,000 new jobs in the month of February, the Labor Department reported on Friday, the second worst monthly jobs report of the Trump Administration.
Even with the slower jobs tally, the nation's unemployment dropped down to just 3.8 percent; it hit a historic low of 3.7 percent in September and November of last year.
The figures continued a streak of job growth extending back to October of 2010, as this marked the 101st straight month of positive job numbers.
"In February, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, and wholesale trade, while construction employment declined," the report stated.
One of the big losers was the construction sector, which saw a drop of 31,000 jobs.
The obvious question is - why only 20,000 new jobs in February?— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 8, 2019
+ Construction jobs dropped by 31k
+ Manufacturing was flat, up only 4k
+ Leisure & Hospitality were flat after being up 89k in January
While job creation slowed in February, wages continued to grow, as the average hourly pay hit $27.66 per hour last month - and up by 3.4 percent from the same point a year ago.
"The economy is very, very strong," President Donald Trump said at the White House as he noted the increase in average wages for workers. "So, we're obviously very happy with that."
Another good sign was the U6 unemployment rate - considered the broadest measure of joblessness - as it dropped almost one percent, going down to 7.3 percent in February, the lowest point for the U6 since March of 2001.
The U6 - considered the broadest measure of unemployment - dropped to 7.3 percent, the lowest rate since March 2001 pic.twitter.com/YRRnGZlmQB— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) March 8, 2019
After growing for four straight months, the size of the labor force declined slightly again in February, by 45,000 people, as the Labor Force Participation Rate remained at 63.2 percent.