Over the year, average hourly earnings rose by 3.4 percent - the largest year-over-year percentage gain since 2009.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell made no mention of the latest numbers in remarks delivered more than 12 hours later, noting simply that most measures of the labor market "look as favorable as they have in many decades" and adding that there is "nothing in the outlook demanding an immediate policy response". This shows the national economy, like the stat of Massachusetts' economy, appears to see its growth slowing.
Other Services added 500 (+0.4%) jobs over the month. Economists have been looking for signs that wages are growing more given the low unemployment rate and employers finding it hard to fill positions.
The state ended 2018 with a 3.8 percent unemployment rate, down from 4.6 percent in 2017. There is so much demand for highly-skilled workers with specialized data and computer skills that employers are sometimes hiring and poaching workers when they don't have an actually job opening for them. There were also job losses in the utilities as well as transportation and warehousing industries.
Trailing sectors were leisure and hospitality (500 new jobs), education and health services (400) and information (300).
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. Over the year, Education and Health Services gained 9,800 (+1.2%) jobs. However, the number is still behind the national average and neighboring MA (both at 1.8 percent for the year). The manufacturing sector followed with the addition of 600 net jobs. While the tariffs have benefitted some sectors, others like the automotive industry are dealing with increased raw material prices that are adding millions to yearly costs.
Information lost 800 (-0.9%) jobs over the month.
While negotiations between Trump officials and President Xi Jinping's government remain ongoing, questions linger over how extensive any agreement would be and whether it would actually force China to make long-sought changes to its economy. Add in a government shutdown, and the case for raging payroll growth notionally weakens still further. With these revisions, temporary help employment growth was lower than previously reported by 6,900 jobs.