The February Bureau of Labor Statistics report had something for the bulls, and something for the bears.
For the bulls, the economy created a higher than anticipated 242,000 nonfarm jobs; December and January figures were revised upward by 30,000 net jobs, and the labor participation rate increased to 62.9 percent, the highest in a year.
For the bears, wages declined by three cents an hour to $25.35, and the average workweek also declined by 0.2 hours to 34.4. Earning less while logging fewer hours is a bad combination.
Job gains, many of them part-time, came in familiar sectors: health care and education, drinking places and retail. Losses came in manufacturing and mining which includes the energy industry.
While it’s good that underpaid and under-appreciated nurses and teachers are landing on their feet, jobs in health care and education aren’t the stuff of a booming economy, unlike mining and manufacturing.