U.S. Economic Indicators

The U.S. economy added 20,000 jobs in February, far below consensus. The unemployment rate declined to 3.8%, the labor force participation rate held at 63.2%, and average hourly earnings annual growth edged up to 3.4%. BLS Report

Privately-owned housing starts rose 18.6% in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million (down 7.8% year-over-year). Housing permits rose 1.4% to a 1.35 million annual pace in January but are down 1.5% on the year.  Census Bureau Report

U.S. News

According to the Financial Times, China reported a 20.7 percent year-on-year decline in exports for February—the steepest decline in three years—amid reduced optimism for a quick resolution to the trade dispute with the U.S. South Korean and Japanese exports also declined, heightening concerns about the global ramifications of the dispute. FT

The Wall Street Journal reports that recent stock market turbulence has dropped total net worth of U.S. households by 3.5% during the fourth quarter of 2018, despite slight gains in the value of real estate. In a sign of caution, households and businesses borrowed at a slower pace, pointing to slower capital spending and adding less fuel to economic growth. WSJ