The number of unemployed persons, at 12.8 million, was essentially unchanged in February. The unemployment rate held at 8.3 percent, 0.8 percentage point below the August 2011 rate.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.7 percent), adult women (7.7 percent), teenagers (23.8 percent), whites (7.3 percent), blacks (14.1 percent), and Hispanics (10.7 percent) showed little or no change in February. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 5.4 million in February. These individuals accounted for 42.6 percent of the unemployed.
Both the labor force and employment rose in February. The civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.9 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.6 percent, edged up over the month.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.1 million in February. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
In February, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 1.0 million discouraged workers in February, about the same as a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February. Private-sector employment grew by 233,000, with job gains in professional and business services, health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining.
Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs in February. Just over half of the increase occurred in temporary help services (+45,000). Job gains also occurred in computer systems design (+10,000) and in management and technical consulting services (+7,000). Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.4 million since a recent low point in September 2009.
Health care and social assistance employment rose by 61,000 over the month. Within health care, ambulatory care services added 28,000 jobs, and hospital employment increased by 15,000. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has risen by 360,000. In February, social assistance employment edged up (+12,000).
In February, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 44,000, with nearly all of the increase in food services and drinking places (+41,000). Since a recent low in February 2010, food services has added 531,000 jobs.
Manufacturing employment rose by 31,000 in February. All of the increase occurred in durable goods manufacturing, with job gains in fabricated metal products (+11,000), transportation equipment (+8,000), machinery (+5,000), and furniture and related products (+3,000). Durable goods manufacturing has added 444,000 jobs since a recent trough in January 2010.
In February, mining added 7,000 jobs, with most of the gain in support activities for mining (+5,000). Since a recent low in October 2009, mining employment has increased by 180,000.
Construction employment changed little in February, after 2 consecutive months of job gains. Over the month, employment fell by 14,000 in nonresidential specialty trade contractors.
Overall, employment in retail trade changed little in February. A large job loss in general merchandise stores (-35,000) more than offset an increase in January (+23,000). Employment in motor vehicle and parts dealers continued to trend up in February.
Government employment was essentially unchanged in January and February. In 2011, government lost an average of 22,000 jobs per month.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in February. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 41.0 hours, and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours.
In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $23.31. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 1.9 percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 3 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $19.64.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +203,000 to +223,000, and the change for January was revised from +243,000 to +284,000.