A "now hiring" sign is posted on a table during a recruiting event.
Photograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images
By Fortune Editors
March 6, 2015

Stocks look set to move higher this morning as investors digest the details of the February jobs report, which showed solid job growth last month.

Here’s what else you need to know about today.

1. Jobs jump.

Hiring in the United States jumped last month and the jobless rate fell, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday — the latest sign that the labor market is continuing to improve.

U.S. employers added 295,000 jobs in February, as the nation’s unemployment rate fell to 5.5% from 5.7% in January. The monthly numbers surpassed expectations. Analysts polled by Reuters forecasted hiring to drop to 240,000 last month, compared with 257,000 in January.

Job gains for January were revised down. January fell to 239,000 from 257,000 jobs. November through January represented the best three-month gain for the labor market since the late 1990s.

The number of long-term unemployed was little changed at 2.7 million. February marked 12th straight month U.S. employers added more than 200,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department.

2. SAP’s big cuts.

Business software maker SAP will cut about 2,250 posts, or around 3% of its global workforce, while creating a similar number in expanding parts of the company, as it accelerates a push to sell its products via the Internet.

Last year SAP, Europe’s largest software maker, which employs about 75,000 workers worldwide, cut a similar percentage of posts, said Stefan Ries, SAP’s chief of human resources.

“In principle this is a continuation of the (company’s response to) changes in market circumstances,” Ries said, adding the cuts were not part of a cost reduction plan but a refocusing of the company.

He said SAP expects to create about 2,200 jobs this year in growth areas such at its cloud business, its in-memory database Hana and Concur, the expenses software maker it bought last year for $7.3 billion.

3. Apple pay stung.

Apple’s (AAPL) mobile payment system Apple Pay has been hit by a wave of fraudulent transactions using stolen credit-card data from a spate of breaches at retailers, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The transactions stemmed from breaches at retail giants including Home Depot (HD) and Target (TGT), the Journal reported on Thursday.

The majority of unauthorized purchases have been for big-ticket items bought with smartphones at Apple’s own stores, the Journal said.

4. Offices stationery.

No. 1 office supplies retailer Staples (SPLS) said its fourth-quarter sales were hurt by a strong dollar and weak demand for computers and related accessories, and the company said sales in the current quarter would be lower than those in the same quarter last year.

However, the retailer posted a better-than-expected profit on Friday and issued an adjusted profit forecast that was in line with analysts’ average estimate, helping to push up its shares in premarket trading.

The outlook excludes costs related to the company’s $6.3 billion acquisition of smaller rival Office Depot, which is being examined by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The anti-trust watchdog is widely expected to approve the deal.

5. Budget update.

The Congressional Budget Office will release its updated baseline budget today. The CBO will show how much of a deficit President Barack Obama’s FY2016 tax and spending proposals would create. The new baseline will reflect stronger job growth over the past four months, since data was locked for its previous forecast. This may bring forecast deficits down, helping lawmakers to ease sequester spending constraints and making them feel more comfortable in extending tax breaks without offsets.

—Reuters contributed to this report.


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