Hiring across the USA slowed far more than expected in February, the Labor Department said Friday, further adding to fears of an economic slowdown.
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. Many workers can find jobs elsewhere.
"We got a little aggressive there", Witkowski said.
The moderation in hiring was flagged by first-time applications for jobless benefits, which were elevated in February.
America Created Just 20,000 Jobs in February
The sharp slowdown in hiring, which may have been worsened by unseasonably cold weather, comes after employers added a blockbuster 311,000 jobs in January, the most in almost a year. Manufacturing added just 4,000 jobs - far fewer than the 21,000 in January. Retail payrolls fell by 6,100 jobs. The drop in unemployment leaves the unemployment rate within its recent range.
The labour-force participation rate was unchanged at a five-year high of 63.2 per cent, while the employment-population ratio, another broad measure of labour-market health, held at 60.7 per cent.
MA added 11,400 jobs in January as the unemployment rate held steady at 3.1 for the fourth consecutive month, according to figures released Friday by the state's Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development.
The unemployment rate is calculated through a different survey than the jobs number, and the two sometimes diverge, which may partly explain how the official unemployment rate fell despite the slow job growth. The unemployment drop included a new record low for Hispanic-Americans. But in February, a gauge of what is called underemployment, which includes part-timers who want full-time work and discouraged people no longer looking for jobs, reached 7.3 percent, the lowest level since 2001.
Economist Sung Won Sohn said economic growth is slowing down as the recovery is approaching its 10th anniversary. This shows the national economy, like the stat of Massachusetts' economy, appears to see its growth slowing. Still, most expect a rebound in the April-June quarter, and there are already signs of one: Consumer confidence rose in February along with the stock market. Economists have been looking for signs that wages are growing more given the low unemployment rate and employers finding it hard to fill positions.