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Markets Tank as Weak Jobs Report Exacerbates Slowdown Concerns

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Mar. 8 2019, Published 12:25 p.m. ET

Job additions were way below expectations

The US (IVV) jobs report for February was released today. The job additions in the US came to just 20,000 in February, which was much weaker than expected. Economists were expecting this figure to come in at 180,000. Therefore, the jobs growth in February was a big miss. February also marked the worst month in job creation since September 2017. In January, the US economy added 311,000 jobs.

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Unemployment rate and wage growth

In contrast to job gains, the unemployment rate came in stronger at 3.8% as compared to consensus expectations of 3.9% after January’s 4.0%. The wage growth was also strong with 3.4% YoY growth in February, the strongest in the last ten years.

Markets shouldn’t read too much into the job numbers for a month. As reported by CNBC, Trump’s advisor, Larry Kudlow, said that the report is “very fluky” and advised market participants not to pay “any attention to it.” However, the weaker jobs report only added to markets’ growing list of worries.

Markets’ reaction

The markets were already concerned about the growing signs of a slowdown in Europe (HEDJ) and China (FXI). China’s trade data, which was released today, came in below expectations. The US markets were trading in the red today. At 10:10 AM EST, the S&P 500 (SPY), the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index (DIA), and the NASDAQ Composite (QQQ) were trading 0.85%, 0.62%, and 0.78% lower, respectively. The market losses were led by Exxon Mobil (XOM), National Beverage (FIZZ), Amazon (AMZN), and Apple (AAPL) among others.

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