U.S. jobless rate little changed in February

WASHINGTON, D.C.
March 7, 2014 5:38am
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•  Nation adds a net 175,000 jobs

•  Strongest growth was in professional and business services and in wholesale trade


Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by a net of 175,000 in February, but the nation’s unemployment rate was little changed at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says Friday. It was 6.6 percent in January.

Employment increased in professional and business services and in wholesale trade but declined in information.

Both the number of unemployed persons (10.5 million) and the unemployment rate (6.7 percent) changed little in February. The jobless rate has shown little movement since December. Over the year, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate are down by 1.6 million and 1.0 percentage point, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.4 percent), adult women (5.9 percent), teenagers (21.4 percent), whites (5.8 percent), blacks (12.0 percent), and Hispanics (8.1 percent) showed little or no change in February. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.0 percent (not seasonally adjusted), about unchanged over the year.

“This report highlights the continuing need to focus our efforts on moving our economy forward by reforming our tax code, fixing our broken immigration system, extending unemployment insurance, and boosting science and math education so that more hardworking Americans can get ahead,” says U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., vice chairman of the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million; these individuals accounted for 37.0 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 901,000 over the year.

Both the civilian labor force participation rate (63.0 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.8 percent) were unchanged in February. The labor force participation rate was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago, while the employment-population ratio was little changed over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 7.2 million in February. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work.

In February, 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, a decline of 285,000 over the year. (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.

Among the marginally attached, there were 755,000 discouraged workers in February, down by 130,000 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 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family

responsibilities. (

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 175,000 in February. Job growth averaged 189,000 per month over the prior 12 months. In February, job gains occurred in professional and business services and in wholesale trade, while information lost jobs.

Employment in professional and business services increased by 79,000 in February. Accounting and bookkeeping services added 16,000 jobs. Employment continued to trend up in temporary help services (+24,000) and in services to buildings and dwellings (+11,000). Over the prior 12 months, professional and business services added an average of 56,000 jobs per month.

In February, wholesale trade added 15,000 jobs, with nearly all of the increase occurring in durable goods (+12,000). Over the prior 12 months, the employment gain in wholesale trade averaged 9,000 per month.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in February (+21,000). Over the prior 12 months, this industry added an average of 27,000 jobs per month.

In February, employment in construction changed little (+15,000). Over the past year, construction has added 152,000 jobs. Within the industry, employment in heavy and civil engineering construction rose by 12,000 in February.

Employment in health care changed little in February (+10,000). This marks the third consecutive month of little employment change in this industry. Offices of physicians added 8,000 jobs in February. Employment in hospitals changed little over the month but is down by 10,000 over the past 3 months.

Retail trade employment changed little in February (-4,000). Among the component industries, a job gain in food and beverage stores (+12,000) was more than offset by declines in electronics and appliance stores (-12,000); sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-9,000); and department stores (-7,000). Over the year, retail trade has added 282,000 jobs.

Information lost 16,000 jobs in February. Most of the decline occurred in motion picture and sound recording (-14,000); employment in this industry can be volatile from month to month.

Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, and government, changed little over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 34.2 hours in February. The manufacturing workweek was unchanged at 40.7 hours, and factory overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 0.2 hour to 33.3 hours. For production workers, the manufacturing workweek has declined by 0.6 hour over the past 3 months.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents to $24.31. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 52 cents, or 2.2 percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased

by 9 cents to $20.50.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +75,000 to +84,000, and the change for January was revised from +113,000 to +129,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January were 25,000 higher than previously reported.


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