Friday, March 04, 2011

February Employment Report: 192,000 Jobs, 8.9% Unemployment Rate

by Bill McBride on 3/04/2011 08:30:00 AM

From the BLS:

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 192,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +121,000 to +152,000, and the change for January was revised from +36,000 to +63,000.
The following graph shows the employment population ratio, the participation rate, and the unemployment rate.

Employment Pop Ratio, participation and unemployment rates Click on graph for larger image.

The unemployment rate decreased to 8.9% (red line).

The Labor Force Participation Rate was unchanged at 64.2% in February (blue line). This is the lowest level since the early '80s. (This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force. The participation rate is well below the 66% to 67% rate that was normal over the last 20 years, although some of the decline is due to the aging population.)

The Employment-Population ratio was unchanged at 58.4% in February (black line).

Percent Job Losses During Recessions The second graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms aligned at maximum job losses. The dotted line is ex-Census hiring.

The current employment recession is by far the worst recession since WWII in percentage terms, and 2nd worst in terms of the unemployment rate (only the early '80s recession with a peak of 10.8 percent was worse).

This was about at expectations for payroll jobs. Adding January and February together gives 255,000 jobs or about 127 thousand per month. I'll have much more soon ...