February 2022 Monthly Employment Summary

  • On March 10, 2022

Love was in the air, and many loved to see unemployment continue to decrease as more and more job seekers found opportunities. Staff Solve strives to assist employers and job seekers with information and process hiring, but the overall economic picture of employment trends in the United States and possible factors involved.

In February, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.8%, and the number of

unemployed persons edged down to 6.3 million. In February 2020, prior to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the unemployment rate was 3.5%, and the number of unemployed persons was 5.7 million. 

Among the unemployed, the number of persons on temporary layoff, at 888,000 in January, was little changed over the month. The number of permanent job losers, at 1.6 million in January, also changed little. The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks declined by 286,000. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.7 million. The long-term unemployed accounted for 26.7% of the total unemployed in February 2022. The labor force participation rate, at 62.3% in February, changed little over the month. 

The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons increased by 418,000 to 4.1 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs. The number of persons not in the labor force who currently want a job declined by 349,000 to 5.4 million. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were unavailable to take a job. The number of discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were available for them, was little changed over the month at 391,000.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 678,000 in February as job growth was widespread over the month, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, health care, and construction. Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to increase, with a gain of 179,000 for the month. Job growth occurred in food services and drinking places (+124,000) and in accommodation (+28,000). Professional and business services added 95,000 jobs, with gains occurring in temporary help services (+36,000), management of companies and enterprises (+12,000), management and technical consulting services (+10,000), and scientific research and development services (+8,000). Employment in professional and business services is 596,000 higher than the data from February 2020, largely in temporary help services (+240,000), computer systems design and related services (+154,000), and management and technical consulting services (+152,000).

Employment in health care rose by 64,000 as gains occurred in home health care services (+20,000), offices of physicians (+15,000), and offices of other health practitioners (+12,000). Construction added 60,000 jobs in February, following little change in the prior month. About three-fourths of the over-the-month job gain occurred in specialty trade contractors, with increases in both the residential (+24,000) and nonresidential (+20,000) components. Transportation and warehousing increased by 48,000, warehousing and storage by 11,000, couriers and messengers (+9,000), support activities for transportation (+9,000), and air transportation (+7,000). All four of these component industries have surpassed their February 2020 employment levels, with particularly strong job growth in warehousing and storage (+420,000) and couriers and messengers (+240,000).

Retail trade increased by 37,000, with gains in building material and garden supply stores (+12,000), furniture and home furnishings stores (+6,000), and gasoline stations (+5,000). Retail trade employment is 104,000 above its level in February 2020. Manufacturing added 36,000 jobs, while employment in durable goods industries rose by 20,000, with job gains in fabricated metal products (+11,000), machinery (+8,000),  electrical equipment and appliances (+4,000), nonmetallic mineral products (+3,000), furniture and related products (+3,000), and primary metals (+3,000). These gains were partially offset by a job loss in motor vehicles and parts (-18,000). Nondurable goods manufacturing also added jobs over the month (+16,000). 

In February, employment in financial activities rose by 35,000. Job gains were split between finance and insurance (+16,000) and real estate (+16,000). Social assistance added 31,000 jobs, with a gain of 21,000 jobs in individual and family services. The other services industry contributed 25,000 for the month, led by a gain in repair and maintenance (+10,000). Wholesale trade added 18,000 jobs. Mining employment rose by 9,000, with gains in support activities for mining (+6,000) and in oil and gas extraction (+2,000). Mining employment has grown by 62,000 since a recent low in February 2021. Employment showed little or no change over the month in information and government.

Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $31.58 in February, were little changed over the month (+1 cent), after large increases in recent months. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.1%. In February, the average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 8 cents to $26.94. 

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised up by 78,000, from +510,000 to +588,000, and the change for January was revised up by 14,000, from +467,000 to +481,000. With these revisions, employment in December and January combined is 92,000 higher than previously reported. Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.

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