Free Markets, Free People
Economic Statistics for 8 Mar 13
The following US economic statistics were announced today:
Nonfarm payrolls surged to 236,000 net new jobs in February, as the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%. The average workweek rose slightly, to 34.5 hours, while average hourly earnings rose 0.2% to $23.82. Still, there are caveats. The civilian labor force continued to decline, as another 130,000 left the labor force, bringing the labor force participation rate down to 63.5, matching the low of August 2012 and the lowest since September, 1981. The U-6 unemployment rate, the Labor Department’s broadest measure of unemployment, fell a tick from 14.4% to 14.3%. Meanwhile, using the average labor force participation rate prior to the recession, real unemployment measures 11.47%, down very slightly from January’s 11.51%. While this month’s surge in employment is welcome, declining labor force participation still points to a lackluster jobs market.
Wholesale inventories rose 1.2% in January, while wholesale sales fell -0.8%, driving the stock-to-sales ratio up to 1.21, the highest reading since October.