Washington, DC…Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February,
and the unemployment rate edged down from 7.9 to 7.7 percent. In
the prior 3 months, employment had risen by an average of 195,000
per month. In February, employment increased in professional and
business services, construction, and health care.
Employment in professional and business services rose by
73,000 in February after being little changed (+16,000) in
January. The industry had added an average of 47,000 jobs per
month in 2012. In February, employment increased by 44,000 in
administrative and support services, which includes employment
services and services to buildings. Accounting and bookkeeping
added 11,000 jobs, and employment growth continued in computer
systems design and in management and technical consulting
Construction added 48,000 jobs in February. Since September,
construction employment has increased by 151,000. In February,
employment rose in residential and nonresidential specialty trade
contractors (+17,000 and +15,000, respectively) and in
nonresidential building (+6,000).
Health care employment increased by 32,000 over the month,
with gains throughout the component industries. Health care had
added an average of 25,000 jobs per month over the prior 12
In February, employment in the information industry
increased (+20,000), due to a large gain in the motion picture
and sound recording industry. Employment continued to trend up in
retail trade, food services and drinking places, and wholesale
trade. Employment in other major industries showed little change
over the month.
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls rose by 4 cents in February to $23.82. Over the past 12
months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent. From
January 2012 to January 2013, the Consumer Price Index for All
Urban Consumers (CPI-U) increased by 1.6 percent.
Turning now to our survey of households, the unemployment
rate edged down in February to 7.7 percent. Both the unemployment
rate and the number of unemployed persons, at 12.0 million, have
shown little movement, on net, since September. In February, the
labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.5
percent, and the employment-population ratio remained at 58.6
Among persons who were neither working nor looking for work
in February, 2.6 million were classified as marginally attached
to the labor force, unchanged from a year earlier. These
individuals had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the
survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked
for a job within the last 12 months. The number of discouraged
workers, a subset of the marginally attached, edged down over the
year to 885,000.
In summary, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 236,000 in
February, and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent.