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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

                        William J. Wiatrowski
                         Acting Commissioner
                     Bureau of Labor Statistics

                       Friday, March 8, 2019

      Nonfarm payroll employment changed little in February 
(+20,000), and the unemployment rate decreased to 3.8 percent. 
Employment continued to trend up in professional and business 
services, health care, and wholesale trade but declined in 

      Incorporating revisions for December and January, which 
increased nonfarm payroll employment by 12,000, monthly job 
gains averaged 186,000 over the past 3 months.

      Employment continued to trend up in professional and 
business services in February (+42,000), in line with average 
monthly growth over the prior 12 months.

	Health care added 21,000 jobs in February. Over the past 
year, health care employment rose by 361,000.

	Employment in wholesale trade continued to trend up in 
February (+11,000). Over the year, the industry has added 95,000 

	Construction employment fell by 31,000 in February, 
partially offsetting a gain of 53,000 in January. Employment in 
heavy and civil engineering construction decreased by 13,000 in 
February. Over the year, construction employment was up by 

	Manufacturing employment showed little change over the 
month (+4,000). Over the prior 12 months, manufacturing had 
added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.

      Employment in leisure and hospitality was unchanged in 
February, after rising by 89,000 in January and 65,000 in 
December. Over the year, employment in the industry increased by 
410,000, mostly in food services and drinking places.

      Employment in other major industries--including mining, 
retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, 
financial activities, and government--showed little or no change 
over the month.

      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private 
nonfarm payrolls rose by 11 cents in February to $27.66. Over 
the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have grown by 3.4 
percent. From January 2018 to January 2019, the Consumer Price 
Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 1.5 percent 
(on a seasonally adjusted basis).

       Turning now to our survey of households, the unemployment 
rate declined by 0.2 percentage point in February to 3.8 
percent. The number of unemployed people fell by 300,000 over 
the month to 6.2 million. Among the unemployed, the number of 
job losers and people who completed temporary jobs (including 
people on temporary layoff) declined by 225,000 in February. 
This decline reflects, in part, the return of federal workers 
who were furloughed in January due to the partial government 
     Both the labor force participation rate, at 63.2 percent, 
and the employment-population ratio, at 60.7 percent, were 
unchanged in February. Over the year, the labor force 
participation rate changed little, and the employment-population 
ratio was up by 0.3 percentage point.

      The number of people working part time for economic 
reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time workers) 
declined by 837,000 to 4.3 million in February. This decline 
follows a sharp increase in January that may have resulted from 
the partial federal government shutdown.

      In February, 1.4 million people were marginally attached 
to the labor force, down 178,000 from a year earlier. (These 
individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were 
available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the 
last 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they 
had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.) 
Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who 
believe no jobs are available for them, numbered 428,000 in 
February, little different from a year earlier.

      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment changed little in 
February (+20,000), and the unemployment rate declined to 3.8 

Last Modified Date: March 08, 2019