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Non-Farm Payrolls + 295K, but wages disappoint – USD

Another blockbuster report from the US: a gain of 295K jobs in February. Average hourly earnings rise only +0.1% and y/y at 2% – a disappointment. The unemployment rate is at 5.5%. but this comes on top of a dropping participation rate that ticks down to 62.8%. Revisions are negative,  but nothing dramatic.

The dollar is higher.

The US was expected to report a gain of around 240K jobs in February. The unemployment rate was expected to stand at 5.6% and wages carried expectations for a rise of 0.2% month. The previous y/y growth was 2.2%.

The dollar was clearly stronger before the  publication.

Data (updated)

  • Non-Farm Payrolls:  295K  (exp. +240K, previous month saw +257K before revisions)
  • Participation Rate: 62.8%  (62.9% last month )
  • Unemployment Rate: 5.5%  (exp.5.6%,  last month 5.7% before revisions)
  • Revisions:  -18K  (a huge +157K  last month)
  • Average Hourly Earnings:  +0.1% m/m, 2% y/y  (exp. +0.2% m/m, last month +0.5% m/m, 2.2% y/y)
  • Private Sector: +288K  (ADP showed a gain of +212K jobs, but with a big positive revision).
  • Real Unemployment Rate (U-6): 11%  (previous: 11.3%).
  • Employment to population ratio: 59.3%  (previous: 59.3%)
  • Average  workweek: 34.6  (last month: 34.6).

Analysis and currency reaction (updated)

  • EUR/USD traded under 1.10 after the Draghi drag. However, looking at the past, we have reasons to suspect that the pair could  EURsee a temporary bottom after the NFP, regardless of the outcome. Update: EUR/USD falls below 1.09 to 1.0870. It could still bottom out from these low levels.
  • GBP/USD followed the euro with falling, under 1.52 before the publication. GBP/SD trades now at 1.5140.
  • USD/JPY  was flirting with 120, and still not picking a direction. Dollar/yen is breaking out of range and hits 120.65.
  • USD/CAD was around 1.2460. The loonie is buoyed by a not-so-dovish BOC. Dollar/CAD is up to 1.2550.
  • AUD/USD  held high above 0.7830 after the RBA  surprised by not cutting. AUD/USD is now below 0.78 to 0.7770.
  • NZD/USD around 0.75.. And it falls sharply to 0.7425.

Quick analysis  NFP cements removal of “patience” – June hike looks real

More:  EUR/USD breaches low support after the NFP – but could it be false?

And on the C$:  USD/CAD makes a clear breakout after strong NFP

And on the Aussie:  AUD hits low support on blowout US NFP


This NFP report is important for the Fed decision on March 18th:  it could cement the removal of forward guidance: aka “patience” and pave the way for a rate hike in June. Real expectations may have been somewhat higher after a better than expected employment component in the ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI, but other figures were as expected.

However, freezing weather in February may have weighed on jobs. We could see a tendency to “blame the  weather”.  

And regarding wages, we certainly expected them to rise faster. Here are 3 reasons  why wages should rise.

In the fresh podcast, we  preview the NFP, talk about  false breaks, the Australian and Canadian rate decisions, a potential easing in Japan, the widening gap within oil prices and an update on forex brokers after the SNBomb

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Yohay Elam

Yohay Elam

Yohay Elam: Founder, Writer and Editor I have been into forex trading for over 5 years, and I share the experience that I have and the knowledge that I've accumulated. After taking a short course about forex. Like many forex traders, I've earned a significant share of my knowledge the hard way. Macroeconomics, the impact of news on the ever-moving currency markets and trading psychology have always fascinated me. Before founding Forex Crunch, I've worked as a programmer in various hi-tech companies. I have a B. Sc. in Computer Science from Ben Gurion University. Given this background, forex software has a relatively bigger share in the posts.