US Bureau of Labor Statistics

In February, the overall unemployment rate fell by two tenths of a percent, to 3.8 percent, as reported by the US Department of Labor. It was 4.1 percent a year ago in February 2018.

The civilian labor force participation rate remained unchanged at 63.2 percent. The participation rate has been trending upwards over the past 5 months and remains at the highest rate since September of 2013.

The employment-population ratio also remained unchanged at 60.7 percent. The employment-population ratio has been trending upwards and remains at its highest level since December 2008.

In February, the unemployment rate for individuals with at least a bachelor’s degree fell by two tenths of a percent to 2.2 percent.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by only 20,000 in February. The payroll employment numbers for both December 2018 and January 2019 were adjusted, resulting in gains that were 12,000 more than previously reported. Payroll employment gains have averaged 186,000 over the last three months.

Some details directly from the BLS report:

Total nonfarm payroll employment was little changed in February (+20,000), after increasing by 311,000 in January. In 2018, job growth averaged 223,000 per month. In February, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, and wholesale trade, while construction employment declined.

 In February, employment in professional and business services continued to trend up (+42,000), in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months.

 Health care added 21,000 jobs in February and 361,000 jobs over the year. Employment in ambulatory health care services edged up over the month (+16,000).

 In February, wholesale trade employment continued its upward trend (+11,000). The industry has added 95,000 jobs over the year, largely among durable goods wholesalers.

 Employment in construction declined by 31,000 in February, partially offsetting an increase of 53,000 in January. In February, employment declined in heavy and civil engineering construction (-13,000). Over the year, construction has added 223,000 jobs.

 Manufacturing employment changed little in February (+4,000), after increasing by an average of 22,000 per month over the prior 12 months.

 In February, employment in leisure and hospitality was unchanged, after posting job gains of 89,000 and 65,000 in January and December, respectively. Over the year, leisure and hospitality has added 410,000 jobs.

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

 The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in February. In manufacturing, the average workweek declined 0.1 hour to 40.7 hours, while overtime was unchanged at 3.5 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls fell by 0.2 hour to 33.6 hours.

 In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 11 cents to $27.66, following a 2-cent gain in January. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.4 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 8 cents to $23.18 in February.