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Politics & Money

U.S. employers add 273K jobs to the economy in February

The unemployment rate holds steady from the previous month's 3.5%. rate

The U.S. economy added 273,000 jobs in February, and more Americans experienced an uptick in their wages, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The unemployment rate held steady from the previous month’s 3.5%, and there were 5.8 million unemployed people in the nation, the report said.

The jobless rates for groups – including men at 3.3%, women at 3.1%, teenagers at 11%, whites at 3.1%, blacks at 5.8%, and Hispanics at 4.4% – all showed little or no change over the month. However, the jobless rate for Asian Americans declined to 2.5% during the month.

The number of long-term unemployed persons held steady at 1.1 million in February, which accounted for 19.2% of the unemployed.

In February, the majority of job gains can be attributed to increases in food and drinking services, healthcare, construction, professional and technical services, and financial activities.

Some of the areas that showed notable changes in December are:

  • Employment food services and drinking increased by 53,000 jobs
  • Employment in healthcare and social assistance increased by 57,000 jobs
  • Employment in construction increased by 42,000 jobs
  • Employment in professional and technical services increased by 32,000 jobs
  • Employment in financial activities increased by 26,000 jobs

The average workweek for all employees on private non-farm payrolls came in at 34.4 hours in February, and the average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls increased by 9 cents to $28.52.

Over the year, average hourly earnings jumped by 3%.

The report also notes the change in total non-farm payroll employment in January was revised up from 225,000 to 273,000, the report said.  Total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised to 184,000 jobs, up from 147,000.

With these revisions, employment gains in January and December combined were 85,000 more than previously reported.

As U.S. employment continues to rise, more and more Americans are set to benefit financially said Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae.

“Overall, this morning’s jobs report indicated continued strength in the U.S. labor market, with total nonfarm payrolls increasing 273,000 in February, well above consensus expectations,” Duncan said. “After significant upward revisions to prior months, job growth has averaged 243,000 over the last three months. Wage growth continues to be strong, rising 3% year over year in February, which should provide continued fuel for consumer spending.”

February’s job growth is likely to benefit American homebuyers too, as the month experienced a significant uptick in construction jobs, said Mike Fratantoni, senior vice president and chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association.

“February’s much stronger job growth than expected is great news for the housing market. Last month saw a surge of 273,000 added jobs, and with the upward revisions to the prior two months, we have now averaged 243,000 over the last three months,” he said. “Construction jobs notably increased as well, around triple the pace of monthly hiring in 2019. Strong job growth, coupled with a faster pace of home construction and record low mortgage rates, sets us up for a very active spring market.”

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