‘Unseasonably mild winter weather undoubtedly played a role. But near-record-high job openings and record-low layoffs underpin the entire job market.’ – Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics
The US private sector created more than expected jobs last month, surprising markets. The ADP National Employment Report released on Wednesday showed companies added 298,000 new jobs to the economy in February, while analysts expected a gain of 184,000 jobs. The report also showed that January’s initially reported gain of 246,000 jobs was revised up to 261,000. Wednesday’s stronger-than-expected ADP figures provided support to the US Dollar on hopes that Friday’s NFP would surprise on the upside. After the release, the EUR/USD pair fell to 102.00, while the US Dollar Index advanced to 101.80. Markets expect Friday’s NFP data to show a rise of 185,000 for February, compared to the preceding month’s gain of 227,000. If the actual data comes in higher than economists’ estimates, it would provide additional support for Fed officials to raise rates at their meeting next week. According to market consensus, the unemployment rate slowed down to 4.7% in February from the previous month’s 4.8%. Other data release on Wednesday showed US crude oil inventories rose 8.2 million in the week ended March 3, compared to the prior week’s gain of 1.5 million barrels, while market analysts anticipated a climb of 1.1 million barrels during the reported week.