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THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- FEBRUARY 2015
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 295,000 in February, and the
unemployment rate edged down to 5.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
reported today. Job gains occurred in food services and drinking places,
professional and business services, construction, health care, and in
transportation and warehousing. Employment in mining was down over the month.
Household Survey Data
Both the unemployment rate (5.5 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (8.7
million) edged down in February. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number
of unemployed persons were down by 1.2 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively.
(See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for teenagers decreased by 1.7
percentage points to 17.1 percent in February. The jobless rates for adult men (5.2
percent), adult women (4.9 percent), whites (4.7 percent), blacks (10.4 percent),
Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) 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 little
changed at 2.7 million in February. These individuals accounted for 31.1 percent
of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed
is down by 1.1 million. (See table A-12.)
The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, changed little in
February and has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 to 62.9 percent since
April 2014. The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 59.3 percent in
February but is up by 0.5 percentage point over the year. (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 in February at 6.6 million.
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 a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
In February, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
little changed 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 732,000 discouraged workers in
February, little different 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 1.4 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 rose by 295,000 in February, compared with
an average monthly gain of 266,000 over the prior 12 months. Job gains occurred
in food services and drinking places, professional and business services,
construction, health care, and in transportation and warehousing. Employment
in mining declined over the month. (See table B-1.)
In February, food services and drinking places added 59,000 jobs. The industry
had added an average of 35,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.
Employment in professional and business services increased by 51,000 in February
and has risen by 660,000 over the year. In February, employment continued to
trend up in management and technical consulting services (+7,000), computer
systems design and related services (+5,000), and architectural and engineering
Construction added 29,000 jobs in February. Employment in specialty trade
contractors rose by 27,000, mostly in the residential component. Over the past
12 months, construction has added 321,000 jobs.
In February, employment in health care rose by 24,000, with gains in ambulatory
care services (+20,000) and hospitals (+9,000). Health care had added an average
of 29,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.
Transportation and warehousing added 19,000 jobs in February, with most of the
gain occurring in couriers and messengers (+12,000). Employment in transportation
and warehousing grew by an average of 14,000 per month over the prior 12 months.
Employment in retail trade continued to trend up in February (+32,000) and has
grown by 319,000 over the year.
Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in February (+8,000). Within the
industry, petroleum and coal products lost 6,000 jobs, largely due to a strike.
Employment in mining decreased by 9,000 in February, with most of the decline in
support activities for mining (-7,000).
Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, information,
financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.
In February, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
was 34.6 hours for the fifth month in a row. The manufacturing workweek was
unchanged at 41.0 hours in February, and factory overtime edged down by 0.1 hour
to 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on
private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.8 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
rose by 3 cents to $24.78. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.0
percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and
nonsupervisory employees were unchanged at $20.80. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
After revision, the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December
remained at +329,000, and the change for January was revised from +257,000 to
+239,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January were
18,000 lower than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have
averaged 288,000 per month.
The Employment Situation for March is scheduled to be released on Friday,
April 3, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).