Friday, March 04, 2016

February Employment Report: 242,000 Jobs, 4.9% Unemployment Rate

by Bill McBride on 3/04/2016 08:30:00 AM

From the BLS:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 242,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in health care and social assistance, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and private educational services. Job losses continued in mining.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +262,000 to +271,000, and the change for January was revised from +151,000 to +172,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 30,000 more than previously reported.
In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 3 cents to $25.35, following an increase of 12 cents in January. Average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2 percent over the year.
emphasis added
Payroll jobs added per monthClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the monthly change in payroll jobs, ex-Census (meaning the impact of the decennial Census temporary hires and layoffs is removed - mostly in 2010 - to show the underlying payroll changes).

Total payrolls increased by 242 thousand in February (private payrolls increased 230 thousand).

Payrolls for December and January were revised down by a combined 30 thousand.

Year-over-year change employmentThis graph shows the year-over-year change in total non-farm employment since 1968.

In February, the year-over-year change was 2.67 million jobs.  A solid gain.

The third graph shows the employment population ratio and the participation rate.

Employment Pop Ratio, participation and unemployment rates The Labor Force Participation Rate increased in February to 62.9%. This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force.   A large portion of the recent decline in the participation rate is due to demographics.

The Employment-Population ratio increased to 59.8% (black line).

I'll post the 25 to 54 age group employment-population ratio graph later.

unemployment rateThe fourth graph shows the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate was unchanged in February at 4.9%.

This was well above expectations of 190,000 jobs, and with the upward revisions to prior months, this was a strong report.

I'll have much more later ...