• Transcript

    The U.S. economy added a paltry 20,000 jobs in February, which bolstered market jitters of a global economic slowdown, but some on Wall Street looked at the data with skepticism due to the after-effects of the partial government shutdown.

    The effects of the 35-day partial government shutdown may finally have showed up in economic data.

    The closely-watched monthly jobs report released Friday showed a sharp slowdown in hiring during the month of February.

    The 20,000 jobs created last month was way below economists forecasts.

    But some experts are not totally convinced all of the shortfall can be blamed on the after-effects of the shutdown.

    There was a huge swing in the construction sector from job gains to losses. Employment in that industry, which one wouldn't typically associate with government employment trends, fell by a whopping 31,000, the biggest plunge in roughly five years. One other sector not related to the government: leisure and hospitality added no jobs as well.

    But there were some promising signs in the data suggesting the U.S. economy is not about to fall off the cliff.

    Paycheques continued to swell in February — marking the best annual wage growth in nine years.

    And the unemployment rate dropped back down to 3.8 per cent.

    But investors already spooked by an economic slowdown in China and Europe focused on the negatives in this report as another sign the global economy may be headed for a rough patch.

    Conway G. Gittens/Reuters