More than 300,000 jobs were added to the US economy last month and unemployment remained flat, labor statistics showed Friday.
Job gains have averaged 242,000 over the last three months; economists have long said that the average needs to be over 300,000 to spur even greater growth, and to help those who have struggled in the aftermath of the 2008 Wall Street collapse.
The department said African-American unemployment fell to 6.9 percent, after rising to 7.7 percent in January.
While some companies have prominently announced worker bonuses this year after the signing of the tax bill, those kinds of rewards - as opposed to pay raises - are not counted in the average hourly wage calculations by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national unemployment rate remained at 4.1%, maintaining the lowest level since December 2000.
Fed policy makers are widely anticipated to raise interest rates when they next meet March 20-21 in Jerome Powell's first gathering as chairman.
"With the unemployment rate below most estimates of its natural rate, wages appear to have accelerated a little of late after a period of relatively muted increases", Quarles told his audience.
The average hourly wage grew by 0.1 percent.
With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 54,000 more than previously reported.
But the analysts believe one-time weather factors in January could result in some giveback in the average hourly earnings measure for February.
In February, construction employment increased by 61,000, with gains in specialty trade contractors (+38,000) and construction of buildings (+16,000). In other instances, tight labor markets made it more expensive to hire skilled workers and retain the best talent.
Since U.S. equities plunged into "correction" territory in early February, stock prices have bounced around as fear turns to greed and then back to fear.
In the meantime, economists are calculating how the Trump administration's decision Friday to impose a 25 percent tariff on steel imports and a 10 percent tariff on aluminum might affect the job market.
As people earn more and their demand for goods and services increases, they could drive an increase in inflation.