US payrolls top estimates while jobless rate rises, wages cool

US payrolls in February rose by more than expected as monthly wage growth slowed, offering a mixed picture as the Federal Reserve decides whether to step up the pace of interest-rate hikes.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 311,000 after a 504,000 advance in January, a Bureau of Labor Statistics report showed Friday. The unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6 per cent as the labor force grew, and monthly wages rose 0.2 per cent.

The report is a key data point for the US Federal Reserve, as it decides whether to keep increasing interest rates.

The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for a 225,000 increase in payrolls and for wages to rise 0.3 per cent from the prior month. US payroll growth has exceeded expectations for 11 straight months, extending the longest streak in Bloomberg data back to 1998. –Bloomberg


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