Stocks lower…Hiring tumbles…Housing starts jump
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks have opened broadly lower on Wall Street after the U.S. government reported that hiring fell sharply last month. Technology companies and banks led the way lower in early trading. Energy companies also fell along with the price of crude oil, which slumped 3 percent to just under $55 a barrel. The S&P is headed for its first weekly loss since January.
WASHINGTON (AP) – Hiring tumbled in February, with U.S. employers adding just 20,000 jobs, the smallest monthly gain in nearly a year and a half. The unemployment rate dipped to 3.8 percent, near the lowest level in five decades. Last month’s weak job gain came after employers added a blockbuster 311,000 jobs in January, the most in nearly a year. The average hourly pay last month rose 3.4 percent from a year earlier – the sharpest year-over-year increase in a decade.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. housing starts jumped 18.6 percent in January, as builders ramped up construction of single-family houses to the fastest pace in eight months. The Commerce Department says January groundbreakings occurred at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.23 million, a sharp rebound from December. Most of the new construction came from single-family houses, which were being built at the strongest rate since May 2018. Still, overall housing starts in January were slightly below the 2018 total of 1.24 million.
LONDON (AP) – British Prime Minister Theresa May is trying to pressure U.K. lawmakers to support her Brexit deal, warning that if they vote down the agreement next week, Britain may never leave the European Union at all. Battling to stave off a second defeat for the unpopular deal, May also implored the EU to help her make “one more push” to get the agreement through a skeptical Parliament.
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) -SpaceX’s slick new crew capsule has returned to Earth, ending its first test flight with an old-fashioned splashdown. The Dragon capsule undocked from the International Space Station early today. Six hours later, the capsule carrying a test dummy landed in the Atlantic off the coast of Florida. SpaceX plans to start launching astronauts later this year.