What to Take Away From the Latest Jobs Report
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the private sector generated 233,000 jobs in February, with 227,000 total jobs created as the public sector, led by the federal government, lost 6,000 jobs—an improvement over 2011, when an average of 22,000 public sector jobs were lost each month. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3 percent.
The number of officially unemployed people is 12.8 million, "essentially unchanged" from January, with 5.4 million having been jobless for six months or longer. The U6, an alternative measure of unemployment that includes those working part-time because they cannot find the full-time work they want and some (but not all) people who have become too discouraged to look for work, dropped below 15 percent for the first time since 2009.
The numbers are seasonally adjusted. December's numbers were revised upward, from 203,000 to 223,000, and January was revised from 243,000 to 284,000. Crucially, the civilian labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio both grew slightly, to 63.9 percent and 58.6 percent respectively.
Manufacturing employment rose by 31,000, entirely in durable goods manufacturing. Professional and business services employment rose by 82,000 jobs; however, more than half of those jobs, 45,000, were in temporary help services. Health care and social assistance employment rose by 61,000 and leisure and hospitality by 44,000.