U.S. Unemployment Rate was little changed at 3.5% in February

March 06, 2020

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 273,000 in February, as the rate of unemployment was little changed at 3.5%, according to a report by the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics. Gains were reported in the following; Health care and social assistance, food services and drinking places, government, construction, professional and technical services, and financial activities.

Health care and social assistance increased in February (+57,000) adding 32,000 jobs to healthcare and 25,000 jobs to social assistance. Notably, Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 53,000 jobs in February. Whereas, government employment rose by 45,000, construction added 42,000 jobs, professional and technical services increased by 32,000 while financial activities climbed 26,000 jobs in February. Moreover, employment within the other major industries including mining, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, and information reflected little change over the month.

In February, the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 5.8 million, while the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) stood at 1.1 million. Notably, the total number of persons classified as long-term unemployed, accounted for 19.2% of the unemployed.

The labour force participation rate for January rose remained unchanged at 63.4%, while the employment population ratio was little changed at 61.1%. Persons employed part time for economic reasons stood at 4.3 million in February. Based on BLS assessment, “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.”

In February, a total of 1.4 million individuals were slightly attached to the labour force, little changed from January. These persons were not in the labour force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job in the last year. Of the marginally attached, 405,000 persons were classified as discouraged workers in February, little changed over the month. These persons are not currently seeking for work as they believe no jobs are available for them.

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