US added 227,000 jobs in February, unemployment unchanged at 8.3%

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February. Private-sector employment grew by 233,000, with job gains in professional and business services, health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining.

Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs in February. Just over half of the increase occurred in temporary help services (+45,000). Job gains also occurred in computer systems design (+10,000) and in management and technical consulting services (+7,000). Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.4 million since a recent low point in September 2009.

Health care and social assistance employment rose by 61,000 over the month. Within health care, ambulatory care services added 28,000 jobs, and hospital employment increased by 15,000. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has risen by 360,000. In February, social assistance employment edged up (+12,000).

In February, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 44,000, with nearly all of the increase in food services and drinking places (+41,000). Since a recent low in February 2010, food services has added 531,000 jobs.

Manufacturing employment rose by 31,000 in February. All of the increase occurred in durable goods manufacturing, with job gains in fabricated metal products (+11,000), transportation equipment (+8,000), machinery (+5,000), and furniture and related products (+3,000). Durable goods manufacturing has added 444,000 jobs since a recent trough in January 2010.

In February, mining added 7,000 jobs, with most of the gain in support activities for mining (+5,000). Since a recent low in October 2009, mining employment has increased by 180,000.

Construction employment changed little in February, after 2 consecutive months of job gains. Over the month, employment fell by 14,000 in nonresidential specialty trade contractors.

Overall, employment in retail trade changed little in February. A large job loss in general merchandise stores (-35,000) more than offset an increase in January (+23,000). Employment in motor vehicle and parts dealers continued to trend up in February.

Government employment was essentially unchanged in January and February. In 2011, government lost an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in February. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 41.0 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $23.31. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 1.9 percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 3 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $19.64.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +203,000 to +223,000, and the change for January was revised from +243,000 to +284,000.

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