Economic Commentary

Strong employment report cements Fed move Weekly economic review & outlook

March 07, 2022
illustration of a chart and monetary symbols

You Need to Know

Workers pile into the labor market

Nonfarm payrolls for February rose by 678,000 with an additional 92,000 from upward revisions to the prior two months.

ISM surveys show solid expansion, but services slowed some

The ISM manufacturing survey rose modestly to 58.6 in February (figures above 50 indicate expansion).

Week Ahead

Small business optimism may drop again

We project a decline in the small business optimism index to 96.5, the lowest level in a year.

Job openings likely continued to be historically high in January

We project a near-record 11 million job openings in January. For reference, the record high prior to March 2021 was 7.6 million (data back to 2000).

Upward pressures on consumer prices persisted in February

We project that the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 0.7 percent, while the core rate (excluding the more volatile food and energy components) is projected to grow by 0.5 percent. This would bring the 12-month trend rates to 7.8 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, moving even farther from the Fed’s long-run inflation goals.

The February employment report continued a string of strong jobs data, with nonfarm payrolls up at the fastest pace since last July. Workers continue to return to the labor force which has helped to push up participation rates. Wages were flat for the month but remain up sharply from a year ago. It was a positive report in virtually all aspects. The ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, and especially the Russian attack on a nuclear power plant, more than offset the typical positive market impact that would normally follow such a strong report. But it is not likely to deter the Fed from increasing short-term rates later this month.

Podcast: Employment shows strength (14 min)

February’s employment report provides very strong numbers across all sectors. This positive news runs in sharp contrast to major geopolitical events that are pushing inflation higher and could put a strain on the overall economy. Nationwide’s Chief Economist David Berson and Senior Economist Ben Ayers take a close look at the improving labor market and their outlook for the economy and the financial markets for the months ahead.


  • The information in this report is provided by Nationwide Economics and is general in nature and not intended as investment or economic advice, or a recommendation to buy or sell any security or adopt any investment strategy. Additionally, it does not take into account any specific investment objectives, tax and financial condition or particular needs of any specific person.

    The economic and market forecasts reflect our opinion as of the date of this report and are subject to change without notice. These forecasts show a broad range of possible outcomes. Because they are subject to high levels of uncertainty, they will not reflect actual performance. We obtained certain information from sources deemed reliable, but we do not guarantee its accuracy, completeness or fairness.

    Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2023 Nationwide.