February Non-farm payrolls recorded a 379k gain, comfortably exceeding the +182k median forecast. This leaves the 3m average at +80k. Private sector payrolls were significantly better than the headline print at +465k, manufacturing added +21k jobs while government dropped -86k. The surprise might have been even higher were it not for the weather events in Texas, which was behind the 939k people not at work due to the weather (Feb average is 385k). The unemployment rate ticked down to 6.2% and participation was unchanged at 61.4% despite this. The workweek did drop though, to 34.6, although this is from a rather elevated 34.9.
Based on Google mobility statistics we’re seeing a sustained improvement in activity now. This is only likely to gather speed as vaccine coverage continues to expand, restrictions ease, alongside the seasonal improvements one should expect upon the arrival of spring, and, with a bit of luck, some UV.