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THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- FEBRUARY 2017
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February, and the
unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in construction,
private educational services, manufacturing, health care, and mining.
Household Survey Data
The number of unemployed persons, at 7.5 million, changed little in February.
The unemployment rate, at 4.7 percent, was little changed over the month but
was down from 4.9 percent a year earlier. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate decreased for Whites to
4.1 percent in February, while the jobless rates for adult men (4.3 percent),
adult women (4.3 percent), teenagers (15.0 percent), Blacks (8.1 percent),
Asians (3.4 percent), and Hispanics (5.6 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
essentially unchanged at 1.8 million in February and accounted for 23.8 percent
of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed was down
by 358,000. (See table A-12.)
In February, the labor force participation rate, at 63.0 percent, and the
employment-population ratio, at 60.0 percent, showed little change. (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 at 5.7 million
in February. 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 full-time jobs. (See table A-8.)
In February, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
little different 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 522,000 discouraged workers in February,
little changed 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 1.2 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 increased by 235,000 in February. Job gains
occurred in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care,
and mining. (See table B-1.)
In February, construction employment increased by 58,000, with gains in specialty
trade contractors (+36,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction
(+15,000). Construction has added 177,000 jobs over the past 6 months.
Employment in private educational services rose by 29,000 in February, following
little change in the prior month (-5,000). Over the year, employment in the
industry has grown by 105,000.
Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs in February. Employment rose in food manufacturing
(+9,000) and machinery (+7,000) but fell in transportation equipment (-6,000). Over
the past 3 months, manufacturing has added 57,000 jobs.
Health care employment rose by 27,000 in February, with a job gain in ambulatory
health care services (+18,000). Over the year, health care has added an average
of 30,000 jobs per month.
Employment in mining increased by 8,000 in February, with most of the gain occurring
in support activities for mining (+6,000). Mining employment has risen by 20,000
since reaching a recent low in October 2016.
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in February
(+37,000). The industry has added 597,000 jobs over the year.
Retail trade employment edged down in February (-26,000), following a gain of 40,000
in the prior month. Over the month, job losses occurred in general merchandise stores
(-19,000); sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-9,000); and electronics
and appliance stores (-8,000).
Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and
warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and
government, showed little or no change over the month.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.4 hours in February. In manufacturing, the workweek was unchanged at 40.8 hours,
and overtime remained at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and
nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls has been 33.6 hours since August
2016. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
increased by 6 cents to $26.09, following a 5-cent increase in January. Over the year,
average hourly earnings have risen by 71 cents, or 2.8 percent. In February, average
hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased
by 4 cents to $21.86 in February. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised down from
+157,000 to +155,000, and the change for January was revised up from +227,000 to
+238,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined
were 9,000 more than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional
reports received from businesses since the last published estimates and from the
recalculation of seasonal factors. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged
209,000 per month.
The Employment Situation for March is scheduled to be released on
Friday, April 7, 2017, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).