US Bureau of Labor Statistics

The overall unemployment rate fell by one tenth of a percent in February, to 4.7 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. It was 4.9 percent a year ago in February 2016.

The civilian labor force participation rate rose again in February by one tenth of a percent, to 63.0 percent. This is the third consecutive month showing an increase, and marks only the second month in three years with a participation rate of 63 percent or higher.

The employment-population ratio also rose by one tenth of a percent to 60.0 percent in February. February’s number marks the highest employment-population ratio since February 2009. The employment-population ratio has been on a gradual upward trend since October 2013.*

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 235,000 in January.

The unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree fell by one tenth of a percent to 2.4 percent in February. The rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree has not significantly changed since March 2015.

*It should be noted that as of January 2016, updated population estimates are being utilized when calculating employment data. BLS did not modify previous months utilizing the new estimates, so if comparing data from 2016 to earlier months, understand that there will be slight differences in the way the data was derived.

Some details directly from the BLS report:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 235,000 in February. Job gains occurred in construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care, and mining.

In February, construction employment increased by 58,000, with gains in specialty trade contractors (+36,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+15,000). Construction has added 177,000 jobs over the past 6 months.

Employment in private educational services rose by 29,000 in February, following little change in the prior month (-5,000). Over the year, employment in the industry has grown by 105,000.

Manufacturing added 28,000 jobs in February. Employment rose in food manufacturing (+9,000) and machinery (+7,000) but fell in transportation equipment (-6,000). Over the past 3 months, manufacturing has added 57,000 jobs.

Health care employment rose by 27,000 in February, with a job gain in ambulatory health care services (+18,000). Over the year, health care has added an average of 30,000 jobs per month.

Employment in mining increased by 8,000 in February, with most of the gain occurring in support activities for mining (+6,000). Mining employment has risen by 20,000 since reaching a recent low in October 2016.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in February (+37,000). The industry has added 597,000 jobs over the year.

Retail trade employment edged down in February (-26,000), following a gain of 40,000 in the prior month. Over the month, job losses occurred in general merchandise stores (-19,000); sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-9,000); and electronics and appliance stores (-8,000).

Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government, showed little or no change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours in February. In manufacturing, the workweek was unchanged at 40.8 hours, and overtime remained at 3.3 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls has been 33.6 hours since August 2016.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 6 cents to $26.09, following a 5-cent increase in January. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 71 cents, or 2.8 percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $21.86 in February.