U.S. economy adds 235k jobs in February

March 10, 2017 07:47 AM

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Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care and mining.

Household Survey Data

The number of unemployed persons, at 7.5 million, changed little in February. The unemployment rate, at 4.7%, was little changed over the month but was down from 4.9% a year earlier. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate decreased for Whites to 4.1% in February, while the jobless rates for adult men (4.3%), adult women (4.3%), teenagers (15.0%), Blacks (8.1%), Asians (3.4%), and Hispanics (5.6%) showed little or no change. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.8 million in February and accounted for 23.8 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 358,000. (See table A-12.)

In February, the labor force participation rate, at 63.0%, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.0%, showed little change. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 5.7 million in February. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)

In February, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 522,000 discouraged workers in February, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.2 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Establishment Survey Data Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February. Job gains occurred in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care, and mining. (See table B-1.) In February, construction employment increased by 58,000, with gains in specialty trade contractors (+36,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+15,000). Construction has added 177,000 jobs over the past 6 months. Employment in private educational services rose by 29,000 in February, following little change in the prior month (-5,000).

Over the year, employment in the industry has grown by 105,000. Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs in February. Employment rose in food manufacturing (+9,000) and machinery (+7,000) but fell in transportation equipment (-6,000). Over the past 3 months, manufacturing has added 57,000 jobs. Health care employment rose by 27,000 in February, with a job gain in ambulatory health care services (+18,000).

Over the year, health care has added an average of 30,000 jobs per month. Employment in mining increased by 8,000 in February, with most of the gain occurring in support activities for mining (+6,000). Mining employment has risen by 20,000 since reaching a recent low in October 2016. Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in February (+37,000). The industry has added 597,000 jobs over the year.

Retail trade employment edged down in February (-26,000), following a gain of 40,000 in the prior month. Over the month, job losses occurred in general merchandise stores (-19,000); sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-9,000); and electronics and appliance stores (-8,000). Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little or no change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in February. In manufacturing, the workweek was unchanged at 40.8 hours, and overtime remained at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls has been 33.6 hours since August 2016. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents to $26.09, following a 5-cent increase in January. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 71 cents, or 2.8 percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $21.86 in February. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised down from +157,000 to +155,000, and the change for January was revised up from +227,000 to +238,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 9,000 more than previously reported.

Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 209,000 per month.

Click here to read the entire report along with tables and additional data. 

The Employment Situation for March is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 7, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

 
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