Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 311,000 in February (compared with the average monthly gain of 343,000 over the prior 6 months), and the unemployment rate edged up to 3.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported March 10. The number of unemployed persons, at 5.9 million, also edged up in February. These measures have shown little net movement since early 2022.
Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality (+105,000), retail trade (+50,000), government (+46,000), professional and business services (+45,000), and health care (+44,000). Job gains were also seen in construction (+24,000) and social assistance (+19,000). Employment declined in information (-25,000) and in transportation and warehousing (-22,000). Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; wholesale trade; financial activities; and other services.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics (5.3 percent) increased in February. The unemployment rates for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (11.1 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.7 percent), and Asians (3.4 percent) changed little over the month.
The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs increased by 223,000 in February to 2.8 million.
The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks increased by 343,000 to 2.3 million in February, offsetting a decrease in the prior month. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.1 million, changed little in February and accounted for 17.6 percent of the total unemployed.
In February, the labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.5 percent, and the employment-population ratio held at 60.2 percent. These measures have shown little net change since early 2022 and remain below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels (63.3 percent and 61.1 percent, respectively).
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.1 million, was essentially unchanged in February. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.
The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job was little changed at 5.1 million in February. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job.
Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of persons marginally attached to the labor force was little changed at 1.4 million in February. These individuals wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, also changed little over the month at 363,000.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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