Chart of the Day: Net New Jobs in February

The American economy gained 313,000 jobs last month. We need 90,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth, which means that net job growth clocked in at 223,000 jobs. That’s a terrific number, and it was generated entirely by increased employment: 653,000 people entered the labor force and the employment-population ratio increased from 60.1 percent to 60.4 percent. The headline unemployment rate stayed steady at 4.1 percent. There’s nothing not to like here.

Wages of production and nonsupervisory workers were up an annualized 3.4 percent compared to inflation of 2.1 percent. That’s not bad, though it’s suprisingly modest considering the strength of the jobs report. It just goes to show that there are still a fair number of discouraged workers in reserve who are now entering the labor force because employers are getting desperate to find people. This reserve pool is most likely keeping wages subdued even though the economy is doing very nicely.