Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

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                          Statement of
                      William J. Wiatrowski
                       Acting Commissioner
                   Bureau of Labor Statistics

                     Friday, March 9, 2018

     Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 313,000 in 
February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1 
percent. Job gains occurred in construction, retail trade, 
professional and business services, manufacturing, financial 
activities, and mining.
     Incorporating revisions for December and January, which 
increased nonfarm payroll employment by 54,000, monthly job 
gains have averaged 242,000 over the past 3 months. 
     Construction employment increased by 61,000 in February and 
has grown by 185,000 over the past 4 months. Job growth in 
February occurred among specialty trade contractors (+38,000) 
and in construction of buildings (+16,000), with these increases 
split about evenly between the residential and nonresidential 
     In February, retail trade employment rose by 50,000. Within 
the industry, employment increased in general merchandise stores 
(+18,000) and clothing stores (+15,000). On a not seasonally 
adjusted basis, these industries hired fewer workers than usual 
for the holidays and did not shed as many jobs as usual after 
the holiday season. As a result, employment rose in these 
industries in February, after seasonal adjustment. However, over 
the past 4 months, which traditionally see the bulk of the 
holiday hiring and layoff, employment in these industries has 
changed little on net. Elsewhere in retail trade, building 
material and garden supply stores added jobs over the month 
     Employment in professional and business services increased 
by 50,000 in February and has risen by 495,000 over the year. 
Within the industry, employment in temporary help services edged 
up over the month (+27,000).
     Manufacturing employment grew by 31,000 in February. The 
industry has added 224,000 jobs over the past 12 months. In 
February, transportation equipment (+8,000), fabricated metal 
products (+6,000), machinery (+6,000), and primary metals 
(+4,000) added jobs.
     Employment in financial activities rose by 28,000 over the 
month. Job growth occurred in credit intermediation (+8,000); 
insurance carriers (+8,000); and in securities, commodity 
contracts, and investments (+5,000). Over the year, financial 
activities has added 143,000 jobs.
     In February, mining employment rose by 9,000, with most of 
the job gain occurring in support activities for mining 
(+7,000). Since a recent low point in October 2016, mining has 
added 69,000 jobs. 
     Employment in health care continued to trend up over the 
month (+19,000) and has expanded by 290,000 over the year. 
Within the industry, hospitals added 9,000 jobs in February.    
     Employment in other major industries--including wholesale 
trade, transportation and warehousing, information, leisure and 
hospitality, and government--changed little over the month. 
     Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls rose by 4 cents in February to $26.75, following a 
7-cent gain in January. Over the past 12 months, average hourly 
earnings have risen by 2.6 percent. From January 2017 to January 
2018, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) 
increased by 2.1 percent (on a seasonally adjusted basis).
     Turning now to measures from the survey of households, the 
unemployment rate in February was 4.1 percent for the fifth 
month in a row. The number of unemployed people, at 6.7 million, 
was essentially unchanged in February. 
     There was also little movement in the number of unemployed 
people who had been looking for work for 27 weeks or more. In 
February, there were 1.4 million such individuals, accounting 
for 20.7 percent of the unemployed.
     The labor force rose by 806,000 in February, and the labor 
force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage point to 
63.0 percent. Total employment, as measured by the household 
survey, rose by 785,000, and the employment-population ratio 
increased by 0.3 percentage point to 60.4 percent.
     Among the employed, the number of people working part time 
for economic reasons, also referred to as involuntary part-time 
workers, was little changed at 5.2 million in February.

     Among those neither working nor looking for work in 
February, 1.6 million were marginally attached to the labor 
force, little different from a year earlier. Discouraged 
workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that 
no jobs were available to them, numbered 373,000 in February, 
down by 149,000 from a year earlier. (People who are marginally 
attached to the labor force 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 months.)

     In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 313,000 
in February, and the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 

Last Modified Date: March 09, 2018