March 8 - More Americans are back at work according to the latest government payroll data- offering more bright signs for the U.S. economy. Bobbi Rebell reports.
A lot more people are getting jobs these days. Non-farm payrolls up 236,000 in February- far more than expected. The rate of unemployment down to 7.7%. And there's more good news according to Societe Generale's Aneta Markowska. SOUNDBITE: ANETA MARKOWSKA, ECONOMIST, SOCIETE GENERALE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The work week also increased by one tenth of an hour; that doesn't seem like a lot but it's actually equivalent to an additional 300,000 jobs being created, and on top of that, the hourly wage growth is also continuing to accelerate. If you look at the last three months, it's growing at the fastest pace so far this cycle." Markowska says that will translate into higher incomes and in turn more spending- further boosting the economy. REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: But what about the sequester- all those spending cuts that will lead to job losses in the coming months? Alan Kreuger, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors: SOUNDBITE: ALAN KREUGER, CHAIRMAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISORS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are going to need to see private businesses step up even more because the federal government has been withdrawing the support that it provided for the economy; essential support that helped to end the recession and put us on a path towards growth." And there is also concern about the impact all this good news about the economy will have on Fed support. Decision Economics Cary Leahey is confident the Fed will proceed with caution: SOUNDBITE: CARY LEAHEY, ECONOMIST, DECISION ECONOMICS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I don't think the leaders of the Fed are going to growl about the possibility of withdrawing stimulus until they are sure the economy is safely through this pothole. So if the Fed were going to contemplate starting to finally exit , and they talked about that as far back as 2010 let's remind ourselves of it, and it hasn't happened, I don't think they will actually implement it until something closer to Labor Day." But if and when the Fed does dial back its support- it will be a test for the soaring stock market according to Reuters columnist James Saft: SOUNDBITE: JAMES SAFT, COLUMNIST, REUTERS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "We are going to see whether or not the stock market has been making gains on its own merits based on companies' actual ability to create profits, or based falsely on Fed support, because that Fed support is looking like it's going to be here for less long than we expect." But on Friday the report fueled more stock market gains, and more new record highs.