Employment Data Supports Stocks

Payrolls rose 242,000 last month versus consensus estimates of 195,000 and an upwardly revised 172,000 reading from January.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent while the U6 unemployment measure that includes workers who are part time purely for economic reasons, dropped to 9.7 percent – the low for this cycle.

Average hourly earnings declined -0.1 percent versus expectations for a positive print of 0.2 percent.  On a year-over-year basis, hourly earnings fell from 2.5 percent in January to 2.2 percent last month.

As has been the case for some time, the headline rates have been falling, while real earnings growth have remained stagnant.