Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 242,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment gains occurred in health care and social assistance, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and private educational services. Job losses continued in mining.
Household Survey Data
In February, the unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, was unchanged. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.6 percentage point and 831,000, respectively. (See table A-1.)
The New York Times
“We are seeing job growth across a range of industries, but we’re also seeing a polarization in the labor market,” said Tara Sinclair, chief economist for the job site Indeed.
Robust demand for hospitality and service workers has been helping keep total job growth count up despite weaknesses in manufacturing, transportation and energy, sectors that also tend to be dominated by white blue-collar men, who have suffered the most from deep shifts in the American economy.
The economy is also diverging geographically, a divide that can be seen in the five states that are holding their primaries on Saturday. While Nebraska’s jobless rate in December (the most recent available) was 3 percent, among the lowest in the country, Louisiana’s, at 5.8 percent, and Kentucky’s, at 5.7 percent, were among the highest.
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