Job Creation Took a Step Back in February

Job creation took a step back in February as private companies added 183,000 jobs, which fell just below the 185,000 expected by Dow Jones estimates, according to a report on Wednesday from ADP and Moody’s analytics.

The report did revise January’s numbers, raising the original estimate of 213,000 to 300,000–40.8 percent higher. According to Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, the labor market may be reaching a pinnacle soon if it hasn’t already.

“The economy has throttled back, and so too has job growth,” Zandi said in a statement. “Job gains are still strong, but they have likely seen their high watermark for this expansion.”

2019 has seen U.S. equities bounce back after a volatility-laden fourth quarter in 2018, but traders are dialing back their inflation bets, which sends a message of skepticism that continued growth through 2019 is sustainable.

A mix of data regarding manufacturing, business confidence and consumer data have tempered growth prospects, which has prevented inflation from going past the 2 percent target the Federal Reserve set. 2018 marks the seventh year inflation hasn’t gone past this target.

Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its global growth forecast, pointing to ongoing trade wars dampening China’s economic outlook as well as rising interest rates in the United States. The IMF trimmed its growth expectations to 3.5 percent from 3.7 percent, while global growth outlook for 2020 was also cut to 3.6 percent from 3.7 percent.