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Economic News Release

Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press 
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that 
the data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

                           Statement of

                         Erica L. Groshen
                    Bureau of Labor Statistics

                      Friday, March 4, 2016

      Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 242,000 in 
February, and the unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent. Job 
growth occurred in health care and social assistance, retail 
trade, food services and drinking places, and private 
educational services. Mining employment continued to decline.

      Incorporating revisions for December and January, which 
increased nonfarm payroll employment by 30,000, monthly job 
gains have averaged 228,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12 
months prior to February, employment growth averaged 225,000 per 

      Employment in health care and social assistance rose by 
57,000 in February. Health care added 38,000 jobs over the 
month. Within health care, employment increased by 24,000 in 
ambulatory care services (which includes offices of physicians 
and home health care) and by 11,000 in hospitals. Employment in 
hospitals has increased by 181,000 over the past year. The 
social assistance industry added 19,000 jobs in February, mostly 
in individual and family services (+14,000).

      Retail trade added 55,000 jobs in February. Job gains 
occurred in food and beverage stores (+15,000) and other general 
merchandise stores (+13,000). Employment in retail trade 
increased by 339,000 over the past year.

      Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 
40,000 in February. Over the past 12 months, the industry has 
added 359,000 jobs.

      Employment in private educational services rose by 28,000 
in February, after edging down in January (-20,000).

      Construction employment continued to trend up in February 
(+19,000) and has increased by 253,000 over the past year. In 
February, residential specialty trade contractors added 14,000 
jobs; this industry accounted for about half of the job growth 
in construction over the past year.

      In February, employment in professional and business 
services changed little for the second month in a row. In 2015, 
the industry added an average of 52,000 jobs per month. Within 
the industry, employment in professional and technical services 
continued to trend up over the month (+18,000), while the number 
of jobs in temporary help services was little changed.

      Mining employment fell by 19,000 in February, with most of 
the decline in support activities for mining (-16,000). Since a 
recent peak in September 2014, employment in mining has 
decreased by 171,000, or 20 percent. More than three-fourths of 
the job losses over this period occurred in support activities 
for mining. 

      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls fell by 3 cents in February to $25.35, following a 
12-cent increase in January. Over the past 12 months, average 
hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent. From January 2015 to 
January 2016, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers 
(CPI-U) increased by 1.3 percent (on a seasonally adjusted 

      Turning now to data from our survey of households, both the 
unemployment rate, at 4.9 percent, and the number of unemployed 
persons, at 7.8 million, held steady in February. Over the year, 
these measures were down by 0.6 percentage point and 831,000, 
respectively. Among the unemployed in February, 2.2 million, or 
27.7 percent, had been jobless for 27 weeks or more.

      In February, both the labor force and the number of 
employed persons increased. The labor force participation rate 
edged up to 62.9 percent, and the employment-population ratio 
edged up to 59.8 percent. Both measures have risen by 0.5 
percentage point since September.

      Among those employed, the number working part time for 
economic reasons, also referred to as involuntary part-time 
workers, was unchanged in February at 6.0 million. (Involuntary 
part-time workers are those who would have preferred full-time 
employment but were working part time because their hours had 
been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time 

      Among people who were neither working nor looking for work 
in February, 1.8 million were classified as marginally attached 
to the labor force, down from 2.2 million a year earlier. The 
number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally 
attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was 
599,000 in February, down from 732,000 a year earlier. (The 
marginally attached are individuals who had not looked for work 
in the 4 weeks prior to the survey but wanted a job, were 
available for work, and had looked for a job within the last 12 

      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 242,000 
in February, and the unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent.

Last Modified Date: March 04, 2016