February 2023 Employment Summary
- On March 14, 2023
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As many are ready to leave winter behind and embrace spring coming, job seekers also adjust to the various job opportunities available. 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.
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 311,000 in February, and the unemployment rate edged up to 3.6%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs increased by 223,000. The number of persons jobless less than 5 weeks increased by 343,000, offsetting a decrease in the prior month. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, changed little for the month and accounted for 17.6% of the total unemployed.
In February, the labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.5%, and the employment-population ratio held at 60.2%. These measures have shown little net change since early 2022 and remain below their pre-pandemic February 2020 levels, 63.3% and 61.1%, respectively.
Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, government, and health care. Employment declined in information and in transportation and warehousing. Leisure and hospitality added 105,000 jobs, similar to the average monthly gain of 91,000 over the prior 6 months. Food services and drinking places added 70,000 jobs, and employment continued to trend up in accommodation (+14,000). Employment in retail trade rose by 50,000, reflecting a gain in general merchandise retailers (+39,000).
Government employment increased by 46,000, about the same as the average monthly gain of 44,000 over the prior 6 months. Employment in local government continued to trend up in February (+37,000). Overall, employment in government is below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 376,000, or 1.6%. Professional and business services continued to trend up(+45,000), with a gain of 12,000 in management, scientific, and technical consulting services. Employment in professional and business services had increased by an average of 35,000 per month over the prior 6 months. Health care added 44,000 jobs, compared with the average monthly increase of 54,000 over the prior 6 months. For the month, job growth occurred in hospitals (+19,000) and in nursing and residential care facilities (+14,000).
Construction employment grew by 24,000, in line with the average monthly growth of 20,000 over the prior 6 months. Employment in social assistance rose by 19,000, similar to the average monthly gain of 22,000 over the prior 6 months.
The information industry lost 25,000 jobs. Employment continued to trend down in motion picture and sound recording industries (-9,000) and in telecommunications (-3,000). Transportation and warehousing lost 22,000 jobs in February, including 9,000 in truck transportation. Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, oil and gas extraction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, financial activities, and other services.
For February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 8 cents, or 0.2%, to $33.09. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.6%. The average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 13 cents, or 0.5%, to $28.42.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised down by 21,000, from +260,000 to +239,000, and the change for January was revised down by 13,000, from +517,000 to +504,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 34,000 lower 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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