by: Zach Bethune, Thomas Cooley, Peter Rupert
The February employment report from the BLS provides little material to sway anyone’s prior beliefs, although the headline jobs number was slightly higher than many prognosticators prognosticated. The establishment survey reports total nonfarm employment increased 175,000 with 162,000 attributed to the private sector and the remaining 13,000 to an increase in government workers.
Total employment has nearly reached its December 2007 level…some six years after the beginning of the recession.
The service sector added 140,000 jobs, with professional and business services adding 79,000 jobs, 24,400 of which are temporary services. Average weekly hours fell slightly to 34.2 from 34.3…and a year ago in February average hours were 34.5.
The household survey shows the number of employed (145,266,000) and unemployed (10,459,000) persons both increasing slightly. The unemployment rate ticked up slightly from 6.6% to 6.7%. Since February 2013, the unemployment rate has declined 1.0 percentage point. The employment to population ratio and the labor force participation rate were unchanged. Fortunately or unfortunately the headline story of the US remains much the same as it has been since the beginning of the recovery in mid-2009.