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Strong Payrolls Report Points to Economy's Strength

A strong payrolls report helped yields end the week higher, as February's job gains exceeded even the highest economist estimate.  The 313,000 increase in payrolls marked the strongest such monthly increase since mid-2016.  The gain, which well outpaced consensus expectations of 205,000 new jobs, came with upward revisions to the prior two months reports, adding another 54,000 jobs. 

The report indicated that there may still be slack in the U.S. labor market, as the unemployment rate didn't budge from 4.1%.  Instead, many of the new jobs seemed to go to those who previously were not in the labor force, as the participation rate rose to 63% from 62.7%.  The new jobs did not come with a marked rise in wages like last months' did, allaying the fears of those who though wage inflation would be pushing overall inflation readings higher.

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