The U.S. Labor Department reported that the world’s largest economy add 242.000 jobs last month, surpassing expectations for a rise of 190.000. In January, the U.S. added 172.000 new jobs, a figure that was upwardly revised from a previously estimated gain of 151.000.
The U.S. unemployment rate did not mark any change, remaining at 4.9% in February, according to expectations. The statistics also indicated that average hourly earnings slid 0.1% last month, below forecasts for a 0.2% increase, following a rise of 0.5% in January.
The report also revealed that the trade deficit in the U.S. widened to $45.68 billion in January, compared to an upwardly revised reading of $44.70 billion a month before. The median estimate forecasted the trade deficit to reach $44.00 billion in the reported month.
In the aftermath of the reports, the euro fell 0.34% against the dollar to trade at 1.0923. The dollar also rose against the Japanese yen, with USD/JPY gaining 0.33% to 114.05, while demand for yen continued to weaken, as oil prices ticked above $35 a barrel, as worries over a global supply excess are beginning to dissolve.
The greenback was also higher against the sterling and the Swiss franc, with GBP/USD losing 0.44% at 1.4113 and USD/CHF gaining 0.53% to 0.9973.
Elsewhere, the Australian and New Zealand dollars remained higher, with AUD/USD climbing 0.57% at 0.7393 and with NZD/USD rising 0.42% to 0.6753. A report released earlier in the day, revealed that retail sales in Australia increased 0.3% in January, below anticipations for a 0.4% rise and following an unchanged reading in December.
Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar was higher against its Canadian counterpart, with USD/CAD rising 0.11% to 1.3422, after a report from Canada showed that the trade deficit narrowed to C$0.66 billion in January from C$0.63 billion in December. Economists anticipated the trade deficit to widen to C$1.05 billion in the reported month.
The U.S. dollar, which tracks the dollar’s performance against a group of six other counterparts, was higher 0.35% at 97.94.