Friday, March 6, 2015

Economy Added 295,000 Jobs in February, Unemployment down to 5.5%

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 295,000 in February. The unemployment rate edged down 0.2 percentage point to 5.5%; The Federal Reserve has placed its full-employment estimate between 5.2% and 5.5%.

The largest gains were in food services (59,000), construction (29,000), health care (24,000) and transportation and warehousing (19,000). Mining employment declined by 9,000 jobs. Net gains have averaged 288,000 over the past three months.

The civilian labor force participation rate remained virtually unchanged, edging down by 0.1 percentage point to 62.8% in February. The rate has held between 62.7% and 62.9% since April 2014.

Average hourly earnings increased by 3 cents to $24.78, following a 12 cent increase in January. Over the preceding 12 months, average hourly earnings rose 2.0%.

The number of long term-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, remained essentially flat at 2.7 million. This group, which accounts for 31.1% of the unemployed, declined by 1.1 million in the past 12 months. The number of involuntary part-time workers, individuals employed part time for economic reasons, was little changed this month at 6.6 million.

Read the BLS release.

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