When the Labor Department announces the September job-creation numbers on Friday, presidential candidates will pounce, hoping to find data to support their talking points on the economy.

For the last three months, the numbers have been favoring the incumbent Democratic Party. Candidate Hillary Clinton could point to a steady, low unemployment rate of 4.9 percent and average growth of 232,000 jobs per month, a robust pace.

A couple of indicators just out suggest the U.S. economy might be getting ready to shift into a higher gear.

  • Overall industrial output rose at twice the rate most economists had predicted — with the strongest monthly gain in more than a year.
  • The U.S. Federal Reserve said manufacturing and factory output rose as well. That's a positive sign because economic trouble abroad has put a damper on demand for U.S. manufactured goods.
Ryan E. Poppe



Gov. Greg Abbott helps usher in the latest expansion of jobs and services for the San Antonio area as General Motors breaks ground on a new facility on the city’s West Side.

The U.S. economy gained 242,000 jobs in February while average wages dropped slightly, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday.

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent.

The report indicates stronger job growth than expected, and an improvement over the previous month. January's count of 151,000 new jobs — far lower than had been anticipated — was revised upward, to 172,000. And the job gains for December were also revised upward, from 262,000 to 271,000.

From Texas Standard:

Falling gas prices is great news for us as consumers, yet some are panicking about the state's economy. But the future of Texas may not be so gloomy after all.