In Friday’s release of the February 2013 Employment Situation Summary the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 235,700 net non-farm payroll jobs were added to the U.S. economy in February. In addition, the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%.
Despite the overall job net gains, February had a significant drop in education employment within both the private sector and the government sector.
The private sector gained a total of 245,700 net jobs in the month. The most significant gains were in the construction sector, the health services subsector, and the professional and business services sector. The biggest losers were the transportation and warehousing sector as well as the education subsector.
However, the government sector lost 10,000 net jobs with the largest losses occurring within the federal government as well as within the state and local government education subsectors. With the budget sequester now in place due to republican inaction, job losses within the government sector are only expected to get much worse, placing an additional burden on overall private sector labor opportunities as well.
February marked the 36th consecutive month of job growth within the private sector.
At approximately 885,000 the number of discouraged workers, those who have stopped searching for employment because they do not believe there is a job opportunity available for them, decreased slightly from February 2012. The number of workers marginally attached to the labor force, those who had looked for employment over the past 12 months but had not done so over the past four weeks, was at 1.7 million.
The number of long-term unemployed, those out of work for longer than 27 weeks, had little change at 4.8 million. 40.2% of persons who were unemployed in February were within this long-term unemployed category.
In February there were 8.0 million involuntarily part-time workers, those that are part time due to the economic situation forcing their hours to be cut back or their inability to find full time employment, changed little as well.
Following is an approximate breakdown of net job growth within the major private industry sectors and the government sector for February:
• Construction: +48,000
• Financial Activities: +7,000
• Education and Health Services: +24,000
• Information: +20,000
• Leisure and Hospitality: +24,000
• Manufacturing: +14,000
• Mining and Logging: +5,000
• Other Services: +1,000
• Professional and Business Services: +73,000
• Retail: +23,700
• Transportation and Warehousing: -1,300
• Utilities: +1,400
• Wholesale Trade: +5,900
• Government: -10,000
Overall, the average work week for private sector non-farm jobs moved slightly upward by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours, while the manufacturing sector average work week increased by 0.2 hour to 40.9 hours. The average hourly earnings for all private non-farm employees rose by 4 cents to $23.82.
Chairman Alan Krueger of the White House Council of Economic Advisers stated Friday in his blog on whitehouse.gov, “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides evidence that the recovery that began in mid-2009 is gaining traction,” adding, “the economy has now added private sector jobs every month for three straight years, and a total of 6.35 million jobs have been added over that period.”
Krueger cautioned, however, “It is important to bear in mind that the reference period for today’s surveys was the week of February 10-16 for the household survey and the pay period containing February 12th for the establishment survey, both of which were before sequestration began.
“The Administration continues to urge Congress to move toward a sustainable Federal budget in a responsible way that balances tax loophole closing, entitlement reform, and sensible spending cuts, while making critical investments in the economy that promote growth and job creation and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.”
The “March 2013 Employment Situation Summary” will be released by the BLS on Friday, April 5, 2013.