February non-farm payrolls
Non-farm payrolls show the number of jobs added or lost each month. On March 10, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the employment summary for February 2017. The non-farm payroll change figure for February stood at 235,000—much higher than the market’s expectation of 196,000.
Note that the January non-farm payroll change of 227,000 was revised to 238,000, which added optimism.
February US employment growth
February non-farm payroll data that weren’t seasonally adjusted stood at 144,271—higher than 143,261 in the previous month. Sectors like construction, manufacturing, and healthcare were among the top sectors where employment continued to grow last month.
Impact on auto sales
Among all of the other major indicators for the auto industry, non-farm payroll data act as an important indicator. Higher employment growth with an increase in wages could boost consumers’ purchasing power to buy more expensive consumer goods including automobiles.
The US job market continued to show significant improvement in February. It fuels the possibility of another interest rate hike by the Fed this month. Last year, the strong US jobs market was among the reasons for the Fed’s decision to hike interest rates by 25 basis points in December 2016.
Read Do Automakers’ Recent Performances Bode Well for Rest of 2017? to learn about mainstream automakers’ recent earnings.
In the next part, we’ll look at recent US consumer confidence data.