Inventory drawdown, unusually high snowfall in parts of the country, and the West Coast port slowdown negatively affected the economy in the first quarter, but the economy will improve in the second quarter, according to data from the Economic and Strategic Research group at Fannie Mae. Growth will improve moderately this year, rising to 2.8% from 2.4% in 2014.
Meanwhile, job growth remains solid. Despite concerns that energy job cuts, West Coast port labor disruptions, and inclement weather would weigh on February payroll growth, the February jobs report showed a pickup in net hiring to 295,000. The three-month average job gain moderated, but to a still robust 288,000. Over the past year, the economy created 3.3 million jobs, the best since 2000. February gains were broad-based, as 65.4% of the 278 industries measured by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics witnessed employment growth.