Friday, March 09, 2012

February Employment Report: 227,000 Jobs, 8.3% Unemployment Rate

by Bill McBride on 3/09/2012 08:30:00 AM

From the BLS:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
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Both the labor force and employment rose in February. The civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.9 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.6 percent, edged up over the month.
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The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +203,000 to +223,000, and the change for January was revised from +243,000 to +284,000.
This graph shows the jobs added or lost per month (excluding temporary Census jobs) since the beginning of 2008.

Payroll jobs added per month Click on graph for larger image.

Job growth started picking up early last year, but then the economy was hit by a series of shocks (oil price increase, tsunami in Japan, debt ceiling debate) - and now it appears job growth is picking up again.

The second graph shows the employment population ratio, the participation rate, and the unemployment rate. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3% (red line).

Employment Pop Ratio, participation and unemployment ratesThe Labor Force Participation Rate increased to 63.9% in February (blue line). This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force. The slight increase in the participation rate is a little good news. The participation rate is well below the 66% to 67% rate that was normal over the last 20 years, although most of the decline is due to demographics.

The Employment-Population ratio increased to 58.6% in February (black line).

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

This shows the depth of the recent employment recession - much worst than any other post-war recession - and the relatively slow recovery due to the lingering effects of the housing bust and financial crisis.

This was another solid report, especially considering the upwards revisions to payrolls for December and January. More later ...