Jobs report

An end to the jobs party

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

A plunge in U.S. jobs growth suggests that the party is nearing its end for American workers, who have enjoyed their best employment conditions in a half-century.

What's happening: At 20,000 new jobs, reported Friday by the Labor Department, the economy produced far fewer positions last month than required to absorb 60,000–80,000 new entrants to the workforce, such as high school and college graduates.

U.S. adds just 20,000 jobs in February

Source: Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pace of jobs growth slowed significantly in February with the economy adding 20,000 jobs, less than the 180,000 expected, the Labor Department said on Friday. The unemployment rate ticked down to 3.8% and wages rose 3.4% from the prior year — the best pace in a decade.

Between the lines: After an average gain of 186,000 jobs per month in the last 3 months, a pullback from that breakneck pace has been widely expected. Economists, though, are questioning whether or not February's dismal job growth was a blip, or the beginning of trouble for the booming labor market.

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