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Economists expect nonfarm payrolls to show a gain of 160,000 jobs in February, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 7.9%, when the Labor Department releases the February jobs report tomorrow (Friday) at 8:30 a.m.
Employment growth has averaged 177,000 per month over the last six months, and February is expected to fall short.
One reason is the 2% payroll tax cut that ended with 2012, leaving workers with less disposable income. Also, top income earners were slapped with a higher tax rate.
The full tax impact wasn't felt in January, but retailers and restaurants are beginning to feel the pain.