Led by employment and including strength for production, February was a good month for the economy. The national activity index rose to 0.34 vs a revised minus 0.2 in January, lifting the 3-month average to a 2-year high at plus 0.25.
Employment contributed 0.21 to the February index, up from 0.06 in the prior month as payroll growth proved strong and the unemployment rate edged lower. The manufacturing component of the industrial production report showed strength as production indicators contributed 0.09 vs January's 0.04.
The drag from personal consumption and housing eased to minus 0.03 from minus 0.11, while the sales, orders, and inventories category made a contribution of 0.08, vs January's minus 0.01.
Employment is of course the key for the economy with continued strength boosting consumption and housing while continued strength in manufacturing would help production and also sales, orders and inventories.