Unemployment Rate Declined to 3.8% in February

Washington, DC, March 4, 2022- Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 678,000 in February, and the unemployment rate edged down to 3.8%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. It was 4.0% in January.

Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, healthcare, and construction.

Reports the Wall Street Journal, “The U.S. job market appears to have grown steadily in February, according to economists, as Covid-19 infections fell sharply and the country pivoted toward a post-pandemic world.

“But the labor market is suddenly facing new threats that could impede further job growth: soaring oil prices, geopolitical turmoil in Europe and looming rate increases from the Federal Reserve.

“Such a job gain would be robust historically-more than double the average monthly increase of 164,000 jobs in 2019, the year before the pandemic hit the U.S. But it would also mark a slowdown from January’s gain of 467,000 jobs, December’s increase of 510,000 jobs and November’s growth of 647,000.

“‘The labor market continues to be quite hot,’ said Nick Bunker, an economist at Indeed. ‘It looks like the labor market is still primed for lots of strong employment growth.’

“While virus infections have fallen sharply since their peak in mid-January, employers say they continue to struggle to find workers as they respond to a high level of spending from households. Though some workers have come off the sidelines in recent months, the labor force remains depleted, with many older workers having retired, immigration down sharply and some younger and middle-age workers remaining at home.

“With the supply of workers still constrained, the labor market could be approaching-or perhaps is at or beyond-the level of employment that can persist without stoking stronger inflation.”