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.
William J. Wiatrowski
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