WASHINGTON, D.C. – America’s economy added 227,000 jobs in February, according to data released this morning by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment rose in the professional and businesses services, health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining sectors, though the overall unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent.
According to the latest data, 12.8 million Americans are unemployed, essentially unchanged in February. Of those, 5.4 million are considered as “long-term unemployed” because they have been out of work for 27 weeks or more.
Not counted toward the unemployment rate are 2.6 million people who were considered “marginally attached to the labor force.” These people had looked for a job at some point in the past 12 months, but not in the four weeks preceding the survey. One million people gave up looking for work because they believe no jobs are available to them. The remaining 1.6 million people stopped looking for jobs because of reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Also not counted toward the unemployment rate are 8.1 million people who are referred to as “involuntary part-time workers” – people who were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
The civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.9 percent for February, edged up 0.2 percent from January but remains below its 64.2 percent rate one year ago.
Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs in February. Just over half of the increase occurred in temporary help services (+45,000). Job gains also occurred in computer systems design (+10,000) and in management and technical consulting services (+7,000). Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.4 million since a recent low point in September 2009.
Health care and social assistance employment rose by 61,000 over the month. Within health care, ambulatory care services added 28,000 jobs, and hospital employment increased by 15,000. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has risen by 360,000. In February, social assistance employment edged up (+12,000).
In February, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 44,000, with nearly all of the increase in food services and drinking places (+41,000). Since a recent low in February 2010, food services has added 531,000 jobs.
Manufacturing employment rose by 31,000 in February. All of the increase occurred in durable goods manufacturing, with job gains in fabricated metal products (+11,000), transportation equipment (+8,000), machinery (+5,000), and furniture and related products (+3,000). Durable goods manufacturing has added 444,000 jobs since a recent trough in January 2010.
In February, mining added 7,000 jobs, with most of the gain in support activities for mining (+5,000). Since a recent low in October 2009, mining employment has increased by 180,000.
Construction employment changed little in February, after two consecutive months of job gains. Over the month, employment fell by 14,000 in nonresidential specialty trade contractors.
Overall, employment in retail trade changed little in February. A large job loss in general merchandise stores (-35,000) more than offset an increase in January (+23,000). Employment in motor vehicle and parts dealers continued to trend up in February.
Government employment was essentially unchanged in January and February. In 2011, government lost an average of 22,000 jobs per month.
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