The breakneck pace of hiring slumped in February, a sign that U.S. growth is cooling, though strong wage growth and earlier robust job gains suggest the economy’s near decadelong expansion will endure. U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 20,000 in February, the Labor Department said Friday, marking the slowest pace for job growth since September 2017—when hurricanes skewed hiring patterns—and falling well below economists’ expectations for 180,000 new jobs.
China’s exports tumbled the most in three years in February while imports fell for a third straight month, pointing to a further slowdown in the economy despite a spate of support measures.
The U.S. Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment report on Friday could show moderation in employment growth, in line with a slowing economy that in July will mark 10 years of expansion, the longest on record.
The European Central Bank signaled a major policy reversal Thursday, flagging plans for fresh measures to stimulate the eurozone’s faltering economy less than three months after phasing out a €2.6 trillion ($2.9 trillion) bond-buying program, making it the first rich-country central bank to ease policy in response to a global slowdown.
Sales of new U.S. single-family homes rose to a seven-month high in December, but November’s outsized jump was revised lower, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market.
Job growth has remained vibrant despite the slow-growing economy, and that’s a trend investors are anxious to see confirmed in the February employment report on Friday.
The goods trade deficit jumped 12.8 percent to $79.5 billion in December, boosted also by an increase in imports. Exports fell 2.8 percent amid steep declines in shipments of foods, industrial supplies and capital goods. Imports increased 2.4 percent driven by food and capital and consumer goods.