USA wages rise by most in decade even as hiring tumbles

A worker cleans a skybridge before passengers boarded an Alaska Airlines flight to Portland Oregon at Paine Field in Everett Washington

Also, Institute for Supply Management surveys showed measures of manufacturing and services sectors employment dropped in the month, while the Fed on Wednesday reported "modest-to-moderate gains" in employment in a majority of the United States central bank's districts. From 2009 to 2018, the state's economy added a total of more than 1.16 million private sector jobs.

Some economists believed the government shutdown that lasted from December to late January would result in negative jobs numbers due to the number of federal government employees that were furloughed when employment data was measured.

The unemployment rate fell back to below 4 percent and a wider measure of underemployment fell by the most ever.

The pace of hiring in the United States fell last month to its lowest point in almost a year and a half, a surprise drop likely reflecting harsh weather and other temporary factors that led most economists to see the slowdown as a temporary blip. But the unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent from January's 4 percent, and earnings growth picked up.

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And it supports what Powell on Friday called the Federal Reserve's "patient, wait-and-see approach to considering any adjustment in the stance of policy".

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 20,000 after an upwardly revised 311,000 gain the prior month, a Labor Department report showed on Friday. "The year-over-year average hourly earnings growth surpassing 3.0 per cent for the seventh straight month is good news for America's workers", he added. "We expect a sharp moderation in employment growth in February to 141,000 after surprising to the upside in January with a 304,000 print", Morgan Stanley economist Ellen Zentner wrote in a note Thursday.

Despite the weakness in hiring last month, the unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.8 per cent in February as federal government workers who were temporarily unemployed during a 35-day partial shutdown returned to work.

According to the Labor Department, there was an increase of 198,000 in those not in the labor force, while, those unemployed dropped by 3000,000.

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Other Services added 500 (+0.4%) jobs over the month.

Ian Shepherdson, chief economist for Pantheon Macroeconomics, said that the expectation for 180,000 new positions in February was too high because the figures at the beginning of the year doubled-counted government workers who took second jobs during the US Government shutdown. The manufacturing sector followed with the addition of 600 net jobs. The economy added 260,000 jobs the following month.

Retail payrolls fell by 6,100 jobs. Over the year, Education and Health Services gained 9,800 (+1.2%) jobs.

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