Posted by Paladin on March 18, 2015
295,000 jobs added in February, unemployment dips to 5.5 percent
February was a strong month for the United States economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the U.S. added 295,000 jobs in February, which is well above the monthly average of 266,000. While many different industries contributed to job creation, the professional and business services sector, retail trade, food services, construction, health care, transportation and warehousing led the way.
The unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent last month – the lowest it’s been since May 2008, which is great news for America’s job seekers.
Professional and Business Services Sector adds 51,000 jobs
The professional and business services sector remained robust last month in terms of job growth. The sector added 51,000 jobs in February and has brought an additional 660,000 new jobs over the year. Some sub sectors that also saw increases in employment include management and technical consulting services (+7,000), computer systems design and related services (+5,000), and architectural and engineering services (+5,000).
Labor Force Participation Rate stagnant, but wages slowly edging up
While employers are clearly hiring, the Labor Force Participation rate remained stagnant at 62.8 percent, and has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 to 62.9 percent since April 2014.
Job creation has averaged 288,000 per month over the past three months, but the number of discouraged workers (732,000) has hardly changed from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are those not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.
Hourly earnings edged up 3 cents to $24.78. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 2.0 percent. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payroll held steady at 34.6 hours for the fifth month in a row.
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