March 7 - Employers added 175,000 jobs in February, which should keep the Federal Reserve on track in reducing its monetary stimulus. Fred Katayama reports.
As resilient as the postman: the U.S. economy grew more jobs than expected in February despite the cold and snowy weather. Employers added 175,000 jobs. This snapped the streak of two surprisingly weak job reports in a row, and the total for those months were revised upward. But the jobless rate ticked up to 6.7 percent, moving away from a key level that Fed policy makers are watching as a guide for when to begin raising interest rates. The weather did disrupt the economy. The length of the average work week fell to its lowest level in three years, and 601,000 people stayed home. The data should keep the Fed on track in reducing its monetary stimulus. Fiduciary Trust CIO Michael Mullaney said: "it is strong enough that the Fed will keep tapering. It doesn't preclude another $10 billion cut." Speaking Thursday, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said the Fed should keep tapering its bond purchases even if the jobs report is disappointing. SOUNDBITE: DENNIS LOCKHART, PRESIDENT, ATLANTA FEDERAL RESERVE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "In my mind, unless we really fall off track in the economy pretty dramatically, I think the tapering program should proceed." The report boosted the dollar to a six-week high against the yen, and bond yields spiked higher.