March 2024 Jobs Report & Industry Update

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Economics & Job Creation
“The Employment Situation – February 2024”

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 275,000 in February, and the unemployment rate
increased to 3.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains
occurred in health care, in government, in food services and drinking places, in social
assistance, and in transportation and warehousing.

This news release presents statistics from two monthly surveys. The household survey
measures labor force status, including unemployment, by demographic characteristics.
The establishment survey measures nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings by industry.
For more information about the concepts and statistical methodology used in these two
surveys, see the Technical Note.

Household Survey Data

The unemployment rate rose by 0.2 percentage point to 3.9 percent in February, and the
number of unemployed people increased by 334,000 to 6.5 million. A year earlier, the
jobless rate was 3.6 percent, and the number of unemployed people was 6.0 million. (See
table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.5 percent) and
teenagers (12.5 percent) increased over the month. The jobless rates for adult men (3.5
percent), Whites (3.4 percent), Blacks (5.6 percent), Asians (3.4 percent), and
Hispanics (5.0 percent) showed little or no change in February. (See tables A-1, A-2,
and A-3.)

Among the unemployed, the number of permanent job losers increased by 174,000 to 1.7
million in February. The number of people on temporary layoff was little changed at
827,000. (See table A-11.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.2 million,
was little changed in February. The long-term unemployed accounted for 18.7 percent of
all unemployed people. (See table A-12.)

In February, the labor force participation rate was 62.5 percent for the third consecutive
month, and the employment-population ratio was little changed at 60.1 percent. These
measures showed little or no change over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of people employed part time for economic reasons, at 4.4 million, changed
little in February. 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. (See table A-8.)

In February, the number of people not in the labor force who currently want a job, at
5.7 million, was little changed. These individuals were not counted as unemployed because
they were not actively looking for work during the 4 weeks preceding the survey or were
unavailable to take a job. (See table A-1.)

Among those not in the labor force who wanted a job, the number of people marginally
attached to the labor force changed little at 1.6 million in February. These individuals
wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12
months but had not looked for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of
discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were
available for them, was little changed at 425,000 in February. (See Summary table A.)

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 275,000 in February, above the average monthly
gain of 230,000 over the prior 12 months. In February, job gains occurred in health care,
in government, in food services and drinking places, in social assistance, and in
transportation and warehousing. (See table B-1.)

Health care added 67,000 jobs in February, above the average monthly gain of 58,000 over
the prior 12 months. In February, job growth continued in ambulatory health care 
services (+28,000), hospitals (+28,000), and nursing and residential care facilities 
(+11,000).

Government employment rose by 52,000 in February, about the same as the prior 12-month
average gain (+53,000). Over the month, employment continued to trend up in local
government, excluding education (+26,000) and federal government (+9,000).

Employment in food services and drinking places increased by 42,000 in February, after
changing little over the prior 3 months.

Social assistance added 24,000 jobs in February, about the same as the prior 12-month
average gain of 23,000. Over the month, job growth continued in individual and family
services (+19,000).

Employment in transportation and warehousing rose by 20,000 in February. Couriers and
messengers added 17,000 jobs, after losing 70,000 jobs over the prior 3 months. In
February, job growth also occurred in air transportation (+4,000), while warehousing
and storage lost 7,000 jobs. Employment in the transportation and warehousing industry
is down by 144,000 since reaching a peak in July 2022.

In February, employment continued to trend up in construction (+23,000), in line with
the average monthly gain of 18,000 over the prior 12 months. Over the month, heavy
and civil engineering construction added 13,000 jobs. 

Retail trade employment changed little in February (+19,000) and has shown little net
change over the year. Over the month, job gains in general merchandise retailers
(+17,000); health and personal care retailers (+6,000); and automotive parts, 
accessories, and tire retailers (+5,000) were partially offset by job losses in
building material and garden equipment and supplies dealers (-6,000) and electronics
and appliance retailers (-2,000). 

Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including
mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; wholesale trade;
information; financial activities; professional and business services; and other 
services.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls
edged up by 5 cents to $34.57, following an increase of 18 cents in January. Average
hourly earnings were up by 0.1 percent in February and 4.3 percent over the year.
In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory
employees edged up by 7 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $29.71. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)

In February, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls 
edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.3 hours, following a decline of 0.2 hour in January. In
manufacturing, the average workweek was little changed at 39.9 hours, and overtime
increased by 0.2 hour to 3.0 hours in February. The average workweek for production
and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.3 hour to
33.8 hours, following a decline of 0.3 hour in January. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised down by
43,000, from +333,000 to +290,000, and the change for January was revised down by
124,000, from +353,000 to +229,000. With these revisions, employment in December
and January combined is 167,000 lower than previously reported. (Monthly revisions
result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies
since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)
 
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