On The Money: Economy adds just 20K jobs in February | House passes bill to require presidents to disclose tax returns | Warren rolls out plan to break up big tech companies

On The Money: Economy adds just 20K jobs in February | House passes bill to require presidents to disclose tax returns | Warren rolls out plan to break up big tech companies
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THE BIG DEAL--Economy adds just 20K jobs in February, far below expectations: The U.S. economy added 20,000 jobs in February, the Labor Department reported Friday, far below analysts' expectations that the country would gain 180,000 jobs.

The unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.8 percent as the labor force participation rate held steady at 63.2 percent. Hourly earnings also increased 3.4 percent in the past 12 months, beating expectations.

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The underwhelming February numbers follow a stellar January jobs report, which was revised upward Thursday from 304,000 to 311,000 jobs.

Hiring was expected to drop slightly in February following 100 consecutive months of job gains and a slight slowdown in U.S. gross domestic product growth. Retail sales, exports, home sales and construction spending all fell sharply in December, raising fears of imminent trouble for the economy.

"February job growth was surprisingly slow as employers added to payrolls at the slowest pace since September 2017," said Curt Long, chief economist at the National Association of Federally Insured Credit Unions.

"One poor report should not set off alarm bells, but given that the labor market is the lynchpin for the entire economy, it does add to existing concerns and raises the stakes for next month's report."

I break down the numbers here.

 

Economists urge caution: Some economists cautioned against weighing the February jobs slump too heavily. Elise Gould, senior economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, said the report "is a useful time to remember that one month's data does not make a trend."

Gould noted that hiring gains over the past three months were 186,000 jobs, which she said was "likely a better reflection of underlying conditions.

Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, said "slowing job growth is to be expected over the coming year, one way or the other," but blamed much of the February shortfall on a seasonal hiring slowdown in the construction and leisure and hospitality sectors.

"It is fodder for a reminder that we cannot assume too much about a single monthly report."

 

LEADING THE DAY

House passes bill to require presidents to disclose their tax returns: The House on Friday passed legislation that would require presidents to disclose their tax returns, as Democrats have made obtaining President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget GOP presses Trump to make a deal on spending Democrats wary of handing Trump a win on infrastructure MORE's tax returns one of their top priorities.

The tax return disclosure requirement was included in House Democrats' wide-ranging election reform bill, known as H.R. 1, which passed on a party-line vote of 234-193. H.R. 1 is not expected to receive a vote in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Under the legislation, presidents, vice presidents and major-party nominees for those positions would be required to disclose 10 years of tax returns to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). The agency would then make the returns publicly available.

If a candidate or office-holder fails to disclose their returns, the FEC chairman would send a request to the Treasury secretary to obtain copies of the documents. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda tells us more.

 

Warren wants to break up big tech companies: Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenThe Memo: Trump faces steep climb to reelection Feehery: A whole new season of 'Game of Thrones' Overnight Energy: Warren wants Dems to hold climate-focused debate | Klobuchar joins candidates rejecting fossil fuel money | 2020 contender Bennet offers climate plan MORE (D-Mass.) called for breaking up Silicon Valley's largest companies on Friday, saying that the tech giants have gained "too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy."

"To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it's time to break up our biggest tech companies," Warren said in a post on Medium.

Warren is the first major 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to call for breaking up companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, though the idea has gained traction among progressives in recent years amid growing concerns about data privacy and the potential to use social media to spread disinformation. The Hill's Harper Neidig breaks down Warren's plan here.

  

ON TAP NEXT WEEK

Tuesday:

 

Wednesday:

  • The House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization, 10 a.m.
  • The Center for American Progress hosts an event entitled "The Case Against Corporate Tax Boondoggles," 12 p.m.
  • The House Ways and Means Committee holds a hearing on enhancing Social Security benefits, 2 p.m.
  • A House Financial Services subcommittee holds a hearing on proposals to promote corporate transparency and deter financial crime, 2 p.m.

 

Thursday:

 

Friday:

  • The Brookings Institution hosts an event entitled "The Economics of Bail, Fines, and Fees in the U.S. Criminal Justice System," 10 a.m.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

  • The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a proposal for a rule that would extend overtime pay to about 1 million workers in the U.S. after a similar effort from the Obama administration was struck down by a federal judge.
  • China's foreign ministry on Friday vowed to expend all legal efforts to defend its citizens and companies from "political suppression" as a major Chinese tech company faces legal battles in the U.S.
  • Stocks fell sharply Friday after the U.S. government released employment data that badly undershot expectations.

  

ODDS AND ENDS

 

RECAP THE WEEK WITH ON THE MONEY: