The U.S. economy added more than 200,000 jobs for the third consecutive month, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged, the Labor Department announced Friday.
Employers added a better-than-forecast 227,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent, the lowest in three years. Hiring in December and January was also higher than original reported. The Labor Department revised its figures to show an additional 61,000 jobs. The U.S. economy has now generated an average of 245,000 jobs in the past three months, the best stretch since 2010 when temporary Census jobs boosted payrolls.
The number of unemployed people remained essentially unchanged at 12.8 million. Also basically unchanged is the number of those who have been jobless for 27 weeks and over: 5.4 million. This group comprises 42.6 percent of the unemployed.
The number of “involuntary part-time workers” (those whose hours had been cut or are unable to find full-time work), was 8.1 million, also virtually unchanged from the prior month. In February, there were 2.6 million persons who were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had sought a job in the past year. But they are not counted as unemployed because they stopped looking for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.
Among these so-called “marginally attached workers,” there were 1 million–about the same as a year earlier—who believe there are no jobs available for them. The remaining 1.6 million had not searched for work in the month preceding the survey for reasons such as school or family responsibilities.
The unemployment rates for adult men and women (7.7 percent each), whites (7.3) percent, blacks (14.1 percent), Hispanics (10.7 percent) and teenagers (23.8 percent) were little changed from January.
The industries posting the biggest job gain in February was professional and business services, but just over half of these (45,000) were in temp agencies. Health care added 61,000 jobs, leisure and hospitality added 44,000 jobs, restaurants and bars added 41,000 jobs, and manufacturing added 31,000 jobs.
Government job losses (6,000) continued to offset gains in private sector jobs. Last year, the government lost an average of 22,000 jobs per month.
The U.S. economy lost 8.8 million jobs during the financial crisis, and has since added back 3.5 million jobs.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.