Unemployment rate holds steady at 9.7%. That’s a beat. Analysts were looking for 9.8%.
The decline in NFP was about 36k, which was lighter than expected (good news).
The snow did not have a big effect.
Average hourly earnings were up .1%. Hours work slipped a little (possibly due to snow).
The futures market is now rallying.
Here’s the full announcement from the BLS:
Nonfarm payroll employment was little changed (-36,000) in February, and the
unemployment rate held at 9.7 per cent, the U.S. Bureau of labour Statistics
reported today. Employment fell in construction and information, while tem-
porary help services added jobs. Severe winter weather in parts of the
country may have affected payroll employment and hours; however, it is not
possible to quantify precisely the net impact of the winter storms on these
measures. For more information on the effects of the severe weather on employ-
ment estimates, see the box note at the end of the release.
Household Survey Data
In February, the number of unemployed persons, at 14.9 million, was essen-
tially unchanged, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.7 per cent. (See
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.0 per-
cent), adult women (8.0 per cent), whites (8.8 per cent), blacks (15.8 per cent),
Hispanics (12.4 per cent), and teenagers (25.0 per cent) showed little to no
change in February. The jobless rate for Asians was 8.4 per cent, not season-
ally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was
6.1 million in February and has been about that level since December. About 4
in 10 unemployed persons have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. (See
In February, the civilian labour force participation rate (64.8 per cent) and
the employment-population ratio (58.5 per cent) were little changed. (See
The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes refer-
red to as involuntary part-time workers) increased from 8.3 to 8.8 million in
February, partially offsetting a large decrease in the prior month. These in-
dividuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or be-
cause they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
About 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labour force in
February, an increase of 476,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not sea-
sonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labour force, wanted and
were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12
months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for
work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 1.2 million discouraged workers in
February, up by 473,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally ad-
justed.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work be-
cause they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.3 million
persons marginally attached to the labour force had not searched for work in
the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment was little changed in February (-36,000).
Job losses continued in construction and information, while employment con-
tinued to increase in temporary help services. Since the start of the reces-
sion in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 8.4 million. (See
Construction employment fell by 64,000 in February, about in line with the
average monthly job loss over the prior 6 months. Job losses were concen-
trated in nonresidential building (-10,000) and among nonresidential specialty
trade contractors (-35,000). Since December 2007, employment in construction
has fallen by 1.9 million.
Employment in the information industry dropped by 18,000 in February. Since
December 2007, job losses in information have totaled 297,000. In February,
employment in transportation and warehousing continued to trend down.
Employment in manufacturing was essentially unchanged in February. Small job
gains in a number of component industries were offset by job losses in motor
vehicles and parts and in chemicals.
Retail trade employment was unchanged in February, after a sizeable increase
in January. Over the month, job gains in building material and garden supply
stores (7,000) and in department stores (6,000) were offset by declines in
food and beverage stores (-9,000).
In February, temporary help services added 48,000 jobs. Since reaching a low
point in September 2009, temporary help services employment has risen by
284,000. Health care employment continued to trend upward in February.
In February, employment in the federal government edged up. The hiring of
15,000 temporary workers for Census 2010 was partially offset by a decline
in U.S. Postal Service employment.
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined
by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours in February. The manufacturing workweek for all
employees dropped by 0.4 hour to 39.5 hours, and factory overtime decreased
by 0.2 hour over the month. In February, the average workweek for production
or nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls fell by 0.2 hour to
33.1 hours; the workweek fell by 1.0 hour in construction, likely reflecting
the unusually severe winter storms. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In February, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls increased by 3 cents, or 0.1 per cent, to $22.46. Over the past 12
months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.9 per cent. In February, aver-
age hourly earnings of private production and nonsupervisory employees rose
by 3 cents, or 0.2 per cent, to $18.93. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from
-150,000 to -109,000, and the change for January was revised from -20,000 to
The Employment Situation for March is scheduled to be released on Friday,
April 2, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).