Employment Rose by 311,000 in February, Unemployment Up to 3.6%

Washington, DC, March 10, 2023-Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 311,000 in February, and the unemployment rate edged up to 3.6%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. 

Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, government, and healthcare. 

Employment declined in information and in transportation and warehousing.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “Last month’s job growth, reported by the Labor Department on Friday, aligned with other evidence of resilient economic growth in the face of high inflation and rising interest rates. Payrolls advanced last month on a seasonally adjusted basis at a slightly cooler pace than in January, when employers added a robust 504,000 jobs.

“Employers in leisure and hospitality, retail and health care snapped up workers last month, the Labor Department said. Transportation and warehousing, finance and manufacturing companies cut employees, while the tech-heavy information sector also shed jobs again, it said.

“Average hourly earnings grew 4.6% in February from a year earlier, a slowdown from last year but still above the prepandemic pace, the department added.

“Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal had estimated that employers added 225,000 jobs in February and that the unemployment rate remained at 3.4%.

“Other recent figures have pointed to a buoyant economy. Consumer spending jumped in January and inflation firmed. Business activity picked up in February. The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring February jobs and inflation figures as it decides how much to raise interest rates this month.

“A hot job market has emerged as one of the biggest economic surprises among many twists since the Covid-19 pandemic hit three years ago. With the Federal Reserve aggressively raising interest rates to tame inflation, many economists had expected job gains would cool sharply or even turn into losses by now.”