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Nearly half a million jobs added at the start of 2017

US Jobs Report – February 2017

Nearly half a million jobs added at the start of 2017

US Jobs Report

On Friday, March 10, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly employment situation report for February, which is a widely used indicator for the health of the labor market. The second employment report of the New Year continued to surprise with better than expected job growth as the unemployment rate remained near an eight-year low.

Key Insights:

  • U.S. adds 235,000 new jobs in February signaling steady growth ahead
  • The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.7% mostly because more people were looking for work and fewer people gave up looking for work
  • The labor force participation rate ticked up slightly to 63.0%
  • The size of the labor force was increased by 340,000 people
  • 4th-quarter GDP slowed to an annual rate of 1.9%, primarily due to a wider trade deficit
  • Average wages rose 0.2% to $26.09 an hour last month as companies pay more to attract or maintain talent

The three-month average rose from a revised 186,000 to 209,000 in February while the trailing twelve-month average was little changed at 195,000. This report marks the 77th straight month of continuous job growth.

Construction employment increased by 58,000, with gains in specialty trade contractors (+36,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+15,000). Construction has added 177,000 jobs over the past 6 months.

Employment in private educational services rose by 29,000 in February, following little change in the prior month (-5,000). Over the year, employment in the industry has grown by 105,000.

Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs in February. Employment rose in food manufacturing (+9,000) and machinery (+7,000) but fell in transportation equipment (-6,000). Over the past 3 months, manufacturing has added 57,000 jobs.

Health care employment rose by 27,000 in February, with a job gain in ambulatory health care services (+18,000). Over the year, health care has added an average of 30,000 jobs per month.

Employment in mining increased by 8,000 in February, with most of the gain occurring in support activities for mining (+6,000). Mining employment has risen by 20,000 since reaching a recent low in October 2016.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in February (+37,000). The industry has added 597,000 jobs over the year.

Retail trade employment edged down in February (-26,000), following a gain of 40,000 in the prior month. Over the month, job losses occurred in general merchandise stores (-19,000); sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-9,000); and electronics and appliance stores (-8,000).

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little or no change over the month.

Want to know more about the top trends in the job market? Check out the US Labor Market Update from Monster Intelligence.