Here’s a quick look at some of the economic data worth paying attention to today.
- Employment jumped by 71,500 in February, trouncing economist expectations for around 8,000 newly employed people. It was the biggest monthly jump in employment since 2000. The bulk of the increase was in part-time work. But even so, that additional spending power will help Australia as it tries to temper its dependence on natural resource exports.
- Despite the uptick in the headline reading to 6.84% in February—it was 6.62% in January—expectations are growing that the Reserve Bank will cut rates to try to shore up flagging Indian growth. Transitory vegetable and food prices drove much of the rise, including a 154% year-on-year increase in the price of onions.
- Employment in the 17-country monetary block slipped 0.3% during the fourth quarter to 145.7 million, according to Eurostat. Europe continues to grapple with the impact of the sovereign debt and financial crises that have dragged the group back into recession. The dire jobs picture will likely be a hot topic at the EU summit, where European leaders are gathering today.
The latest reading—out at 8:30 a.m. EST—showed weekly jobless claims falling unexpectedly by 10,000 to 332,000. What’s more, the smoothed-out, four-week moving average dropped to 346,750, the lowest since March 2008. That’s not long after the Great Recession began in December 2007.