Job growth on the rise, but wages lag behind

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U.S. job growth surged in February, recording its biggest increase in more than a year and a half with 313,000 jobs added, on the same day the U.S. bull stock market turned nine.

A slowdown in wage gains, however, pointed to only a gradual increase in inflation this year, according to Reuters.

“Job growth was the strongest since President Trump’s election, with 313,000 jobs created in the month of February,” said labor secretary Alexander Acosta in a statement. “The non-stop job creation since the election has yielded 2.9 million jobs.”

For the fifth month in a row, the unemployment rate remained at 4.1 percent.

With Federal Reserve officials considering the labor market to be near or a little beyond full employment, the moderation in wage growth last month did little to change the view that the U.S. central bank will raise interest rates.

It has been 2,266 trading days since stocks hit their financial crisis trough on March 9, 2009 — the second longest in history after 1987, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In the years that have followed, corporate profits have regained their footing despite wage stagnation.

The S&P 500 has more than quadrupled over that period—making its bull run, defined as a gain of 20 percent or more from a low point, the second longest in U.S. history. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up 280 percent, while the Nasdaq Composite has surged 486 percent over that time, The Wall Street Journal reported.

With nearly all results in for the latest quarter, companies in the S&P 500 are on track to report earnings growth of 15 percent from the year-earlier period, according to FactSet, the fastest pace since 2011.

The world markets seemed unfazed by President Trump formalizing his plan to impose a 25 percent tariff on imported steel and 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum.

The prospect has raised fears of a global trade war but steel producers outside North America believe they can weather the storm without too much disruption to their business or steel prices, according to Reuters.


Maine Boatbuilders Show opens tomorrow

In its second year in a new location, the Maine Boatbuilders Show opens tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Portland Sports Complex. Sail and powerboats, plus engines and accessories will all be on display.