The US economy added 242,000 jobs in February, 230,000 in the private sector, and the unemployment rate is 4.9%. (Department of Labor)
The US service sector expanded in February.
The index of non-manufacturing activity was 53.4. Levels above 50 indicates expansion and a reading below 50 indicates contraction. (Institute for Supply Management)
Auto sales climbed to record highs last quarter. Leasing also hit a record high. 28.9% of all new vehicles were leased last quarter. The average monthly payment for a leased new vehicle is $412, compared a monthly payment for an auto loan, which was $493. The total amount financed hit a record $29,551 during the fourth quarter, marking an increase of more than $1,000 compared with the same period in 2014. The average auto loan is now five years and seven months. (Experian Automotive)
US productivity, a measures hourly output per worker, decreased 2.2% on annual rate and was the biggest drop since the first quarter of 2014. Weak productivity has boosted employment growth as companies hire more workers to increase output, but sustained weakness could undermine Americans' living standards. (Reuters)
Oil is up 40 cents at $35.00 a barrel.
Gold is up $4 at $1262 a Troy ounce.