THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — FEBRUARY 2012
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February, and the unemployment rate
was unchanged at 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Employment rose in professional and businesses services, health care and social
assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining.
Household Survey Data
The number of unemployed persons, at 12.8 million, was essentially unchanged in
February. The unemployment rate held at 8.3 percent, 0.8 percentage point below
the August 2011 rate. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.7 percent),
adult women (7.7 percent), teenagers (23.8 percent), whites (7.3 percent), blacks
(14.1 percent), and Hispanics (10.7 percent) showed little or no change in February.
The jobless rate for Asians was 6.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables
A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little
changed at 5.4 million in February. These individuals accounted for 42.6 percent of
the unemployed. (See table A-12.)
Both the labor force and employment rose in February. The civilian labor force
participation rate, at 63.9 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.6
percent, edged up over the month. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred
to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.1 million in
February. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut
back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
In February, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work,
and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as
unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the
survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 1.0 million discouraged workers in
February, about the same as a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in February had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding
the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February. Private-sector employment
grew by 233,000, with job gains in professional and business services, health care and
social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining. (See table B-1.)
Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs in February. Just over half of
the increase occurred in temporary help services (+45,000). Job gains also occurred in
computer systems design (+10,000) and in management and technical consulting services
(+7,000). Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.4 million
since a recent low point in September 2009.
Health care and social assistance employment rose by 61,000 over the month. Within
health care, ambulatory care services added 28,000 jobs, and hospital employment
increased by 15,000. Over the past 12 months, health care employment has risen by
360,000. In February, social assistance employment edged up (+12,000).
In February, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 44,000, with nearly all
of the increase in food services and drinking places (+41,000). Since a recent low in
February 2010, food services has added 531,000 jobs.
Manufacturing employment rose by 31,000 in February. All of the increase occurred in
durable goods manufacturing, with job gains in fabricated metal products (+11,000),
transportation equipment (+8,000), machinery (+5,000), and furniture and related
products (+3,000). Durable goods manufacturing has added 444,000 jobs since a recent
trough in January 2010.
In February, mining added 7,000 jobs, with most of the gain in support activities for
mining (+5,000). Since a recent low in October 2009, mining employment has increased
Construction employment changed little in February, after 2 consecutive months of job
gains. Over the month, employment fell by 14,000 in nonresidential specialty trade
Overall, employment in retail trade changed little in February. A large job loss in
general merchandise stores (-35,000) more than offset an increase in January (+23,000).
Employment in motor vehicle and parts dealers continued to trend up in February.
Government employment was essentially unchanged in January and February. In 2011,
government lost an average of 22,000 jobs per month.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
34.5 hours in February. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 41.0 hours,
and factory overtime was unchanged at 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production
and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.8
hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $23.31. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings
have increased by 1.9 percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector
production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 3 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $19.64.
(See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +203,000
to +223,000, and the change for January was revised from +243,000 to +284,000.
The Employment Situation for March is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 6, 2012,
at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).