Rate hike on the way? Non-farm payroll figures show US jobs smashed expectations in February

Emma Haslett
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The US Federal Reserve is now odds-on to hike interest rates (Source: Getty)

New job openings in the US were even stronger last month, hitting 235,000 - up from the surprisingly high 227,000 openings posted in the month before.

The figure smashed expectations of 200,000 jobs - however, average hourly earnings disappointed, rising 0.2 per cent, compared with the 0.3 per cent expected. Unemployment stuck at 4.8 per cent.

However, the figure didn't do much for the dollar, which edged down from its earlier high against sterling to £0.8223, falling more steeply against the euro to €0.9408, 0.5 per cent down.

The figures added more fuel to speculation the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates at a meeting of its Federal Open Markets Committee next week.

“There would have been little that could have derailed Janet Yellen’s plans to raise rates next week and a hike on Wednesday is now fully expected," said Paul Sirani, chief market analyst at Xtrade.

“The US labour market remains in really good health. But, we will see over the next few months whether Donald Trump can deliver on his election promises, having placed jobs at the heart of his presidential campaign.”

"On the back of this report we may actually hear something from Trump who likes to take credit for all good things," added Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade.

"The wage pressure was the key in today’s data and it has gained most significant attention among other readings. The wage number released today was not really a blowout number but still a very decent one... It looks like that we are going to see a rate hike next week."

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