February Jobs Report Comes in Huge: 313,000 Jobs Added

The U.S. labor market got even hotter in February.

The American economy added 313,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent.

Economists had expected 200,000 additions to nonfarm payrolls, with the unemployment rate falling to 4.0 percent.

Construction jobs expanded by 61,000 new positions. Retails and business services added 50,000 jobs each. Manufacturing had a strong month, adding 31,000 jobs. Finance added 28,000. Healthcare expanded by 19,000 jobs. Mining grew by 9,000 jobs.

Other fields, including hospitality and technology, were unchanged.

The jobless rate for all adults was 3.7 percent, unchanged from the prior month. Among racial and ethnic demographic groups, Asians had the lowest unemployment at 2.9 percent.  White unemployment was 3.7 percent. Hispanic unemployment was 4.9 percent. Black unemployment was 6.9 percent, the only racial group to show a decline in February.

More workers were drawn into the labor force, expanding the participation rate by 0.3 percent compared with the prior month, to 60.4 percent.

Average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents, following a 7 cent gain in January. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.6 percent.

Earlier reports were revised upward. December’s jobs numbers went from 160,000 to 175,000. January’s rose from 200,000 to 239,000. The three-month average, considered a more reliable gauge of the job situation than month-over-month changes, is now 242,000.


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