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6 Sector ETFs That Show Promise After Jobs Data

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The U.S. economy added 678,000 jobs in February 2021, the maximum in seven months, beating market expectations of a rise of 400,000 thanks to easing business restrictions amid the reopening of economies, falling coronavirus infection rates and employers’ offering of higher wages and more flexible hours.

Nonfarm employment is still down by 2.1 million from its pre-pandemic level. The Fed Chair recently said to Congress the labor market was "extremely tight," but the crisis in Ukraine may distort the economic growth momentum.

In February, the unemployment rate declined to 3.8%. Two years ago, prior to the coronavirus  pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3.5%. Below, we have highlighted some of the sectors that will likely see smooth trading in the days ahead in light of the February jobs data.


Last month, leisure and hospitality employment grew by 179,000, thanks mainly to the increased reopening of the economy. Gains mainly occurred in food services and drinking places (124,000). Job gains were also logged in accommodation (28,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality is still down by 9% from February 2020.

The data makes AdvisorShares Restaurant ETF (EATZ - Free Report) a timely investment, if the Ukraine war scenario remains under control.


Employment in the healthcare industry increased by 64,000 in February. Job gains occurred in home health care services (20,000), offices of physicians (15,000), and offices of other health practitioners (12,000). Employment in health care is down by 1.9%, from its level in February 2020. The Zacks Rank #1 fund Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV - Free Report) can be played to tap the momentum.


Last month, construction employment grew by 60,000, after a similar increase in January. Employment gains were palpable in specialty trade contractors, with increases in both residential (+24,000) and nonresidential (+20,000) components. Construction employment is slightly below (down 11,000) its February 2020 level. The data makes Invesco Dynamic Building & Construction ETF (PKB - Free Report) a timely investment.


Employment in transportation and warehousing was decent in February (+48,000). Over the month, job gains continued in warehousing and storage (+11,000), couriers and messengers (+9,000), support activities for transportation (+9,000), and air transportation (+7,000). All four of these component industries have topped their February 2020 employment levels, with prominence being shown by warehousing and storage (+420,000) and couriers and messengers (+240,000). SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN - Free Report) has a Zacks Rank #2 with a High risk outlook.


Employment in retail trade rose by 37,000 in February, with gains in building material and garden supply stores (+12,000), furniture and home furnishings stores (+6,000), and gasoline stations (+5,000). Retail trade employment is 104,000 above its level in February 2020. SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT - Free Report) has a Zacks Rank #1 with a Medium risk outlook.


Employment in manufacturing (+36,000) was upbeat in February. Within the industry, job gains in fabricated metal products (+11,000), machinery (+8,000), electrical equipment and appliances (+4,000), nonmetallic mineral products (+3,000), furniture and related products (+3,000), and primary metals (+3,000) were notable. Employment in manufacturing decreased by 178,000 from its level in February 2020. Industrial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLI - Free Report) has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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