The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the February employment situation March 8 and the data was not encouraging. Nearly all the major unemployment indicators worsened with 885,000 workers too discouraged to even look for work. Also increasing were the number of workers unemployed for over 27 weeks, the average number of weeks unemployed and the median number of weeks unemployed.
The BLS touts the reduction in the unemployment rate for February to 7.7 percent with the addition of 236,000 people to the non-farm payroll data. The data shows that the national employment level increased by 170,000 people. The civilian labor force, however, shrank by 130,000. In addition, the participation rate in the civilian labor force tied a previous record low of 63.5 percent.
The number of unemployed Americans decreased by 300,000, with 130,000 leaving the labor force and 170,000 becoming employed. Just over 12 million Americans remain unemployed. Long-term unemployment affects 4.8 million Americans, who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.
The average unemployed American has been without a job for 36.9 weeks. Half of all those without jobs have been unemployed for over 17.8 weeks.
The February unemployment rate for veterans was 6.9 percent. The highest unemployment rate was for veterans who served since Sept. 11, 2001, at 9.4 percent. Gulf War II era veterans who were unemployed totaled 203,000. A total of 772,000 veterans of all time periods were unemployed of the 11.1 million veterans in the labor force.