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February report: Economy creates 313,000 new jobs

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 313,000 in February, and the national unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%, according to the latest employment report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS notes that employment rose in construction, retail trade, professional and business services, manufacturing, financial activities, and mining.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was 4.1% for the fifth consecutive month, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 6.7 million. The number of long-term unemployed, those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more, was essentially unchanged at 1.4 million in February and accounted for 20.7% of the unemployed. Over the past year, however, the number of long-term unemployed was down by 369,000.

The labor force participation rate increased by 0.3 percentage point over the month to 63.0%, a sign that more people are confident about finding work if they re-enter the labor market.

Also in February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.75, following a 7-cent gain in January, easing investor fears of wage inflation.

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