Friday, March 9, 2012

Payroll Employment Jumps by 227,000

Payroll employment grew 227,000 in February, exceeding expectations of 210,000. This is the third consecutive monthly gain over 200,000. The private sector continued to drive job growth in February with widespread gains across sectors. The unemployment rate remained unchanged from January at 8.3%.

Past reports were revised upward as well, with January’s growth revised to 284,000 from 243,000 and December’s growth revised to 223,000 from 203,000.

ABA’s chief economist James Chessen commented, “There’s now slow steady march forward. Businesses are gaining confidence and realizing that existing staffing isn’t enough to meet the expected demand as the economy grows.”

February’s employment gains were broad based, across the private sector, which added 233,000 jobs. The service industry continued to see the largest gains, adding 203,000 jobs while the goods producing sector added 24,000 jobs.

Specific industries seeing the largest boost in February were the professional and business services, education and healthcare, and leisure and hospitality. Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs. The education and healthcare sectors added 71,000 jobs, with healthcare expanding 61,000. The leisure and hospitality sector added 44,000.

Government continues to drag on growth, shedding 6,000 jobs in February.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3% in February, as increases in the labor force were balanced by increases in household employment. The labor force participation rate increased slightly to 63.9% in February.

While the average workweek remained unchanged from January at 34.5 hours, the average hourly earnings did increase slightly to $23.31 from $23.28.

Read the report.

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