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Payrolls surged by 273K in Feb after 273K in Jan (revised from 225K). Strength was likely exaggerated by mild weather, but a still-healthy trend has also been signaled by claims. That said, the sample week was February 9-15, before COVID-19 fears began to surge, and trends are likely to weaken, as analysts at TD Securities notes.

Key quotes

“Payrolls rose 273K in February, well above the 175K consensus; the TD Securities forecast was 170K. Revisions added 85K to the prior two months.” 

“The unemployment rate fell 0.1 point to 3.5%, reversing the rise in January; 3.5% is a 50-year low. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3%, matching consensus (TD: 0.4%), following 0.2% in January (unrevised).”

“The market remains much more attuned to sentiment, leaving little attention for the data. That said, the upbeat data should help stem the bleeding of the USD against its peers like EUR, GBP, JPY, and CHF. It may also take some shine out of gold.”