CUNA Senior Economist Dawit Kebede issued the following statement in response to the Labor Department’s February Employment Situation:
“The labor market added more jobs in February than expected, building on its strong performance from previous months. The unemployment rate dropped to 3.8%, approaching a pre-pandemic level of 3.5%. The employment gains are widespread across many sectors with leisure and hospitality on top as COVID-19 cases decline.
“Labor force participation increased a little but remains lower than its pre-pandemic level, which makes it difficult for businesses that are in need of workers. However, hourly wages remain almost the same after continuous increases in recent months.
“Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell indicated that he will suggest a quarter basis point interest rate increase in March to control rising prices. This employment report provides the Federal Research strong support for such a measure.”