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Weekly economic review & outlook
Fading COVID cases fuel stronger job growth

MAR. 08, 2021

You Need to Know

Week in review

Faster job gains for February helped by falling COVID cases

Led by a surge in hiring from restaurants, there were 379,000 jobs added during February even with a drag from poor winter weather.

Manufacturing surging as input cost pressures mount

The ISM manufacturing index matched its highest reading in nearly 17 years for February, although material shortages and costs are a building concern.

Week Ahead

Forecasts

Small business optimism likely to increase as COVID cases fall

Plummeting COVID cases and the lifting of some restrictions on in-person activity likely led to a rise in small business optimism for February.

Consumer price index set for another strong gain

Soaring energy prices should push the CPI up by a strong 0.4 percent for February. The core CPI is expected to rise by a modest 0.1 percent.

Nonfarm payrolls surprised to the upside for February, rising by a strong 379,000 while there was a small upward revision in aggregate for the previous two months. Much of the increase in payrolls for February came from the hard-hit leisure and hospitality sector, showing the effect of a modest easing of COVID restrictions on in-person activity and the sharp drop in COVID infection rates. Worse-than-usual winter weather likely prevented an even stronger jobs number as construction employment fell by an outsized 61,000 for the month.

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