175,000 New Jobs Added in February, Big Jump in Average Hourly Earnings

The economy added 175,000 jobs in February, according to the Department of Labor's Friday report. 

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Department of Labor

The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Friday report. That number beats most expectations, in part because economists have a more conservative jobs estimate for February after two disappointing months. (And a lot of bad weather.) Following January's 113,000 new jobs, the going estimate for today's report was 149,000, with either no change or a slight drop in the 6.6 percent unemployment rate. In fact, the unemployment rate went up by one tenth of a percentage point to 6.7 percent.

Once again, jobs report watchers expected the weather to factor into today's numbers, along with the expiration of long-term unemployment benefits in late December. Here's more from the report:

  • 37 percent of the unemployed are long-term unemployed, or those without work for over 27 weeks. In total, there was a slight uptick in the number of long-term unemployed — 203,000 more people, to 3.8 million. That's despite the expiration of benefits for the long-term unemployed, which was expected to lead people to drop out of the workforce altogether.
  • The number of "part time for economic reasons" (i.e. people who can't find full time work) was more or less steady at 7.2 million. 
  • One of the more dramatic gains in February come from average hourly earnings. Those jumped to $24.31, nine cents higher or a 0.4 percent increase. That beat expectations and also suggests that there is more competition for jobs. There's been a 2.2 percent increase in average hourly earnings over the past year. 
  • The professional and business services and wholesale trade sectors gained jobs, while information and entertainment lost workers. 

You can read the full report here.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.