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Published On: Fri, Mar 9th, 2018

US continues to add jobs, unemployment lowest in 17 years

The US economy added 313,000 jobs in February, a much stronger number than economists expected and the biggest gain since July 2016, according to Labor Department figures published today.

“The headline number is pretty outstanding,” says Cathy Barrera, chief economist at ZipRecruiter, a job recruitment site.

The unemployment rate stayed at 4.1%, the lowest in 17 years.

Wages grew 2.6% compared with a year earlier, just below the pace in January.

Goldman Sachs economists had expected 205,000 job gains.

photo: photologue_np via Flickr

In the first two months of the year, the United States has already added more than half a million jobs.

February also marked the 89th consecutive month of job gains, the longest streak since the Labor Department began keeping track in the 1940s.

More Americans are coming off the sidelines and into the job market.

The participation rate, which reflects people who are working or looking for a job, registered its best one-month gain in nearly eight years and is at 63%. The rate has been in long-term decline for several reasons, including Baby Boomers retiring.

“There definitely are pockets” of faster pay increases,¬†such as in health care, e-commerce and warehousing, says Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist of Glassdoor, the giant job posting site.

“We’re heating up, but there’s still plenty of room to pull more Americans back into the workforce,” says Guy Berger, chief economist at LinkedIn. “We still have more room to run for this expansion.”

Job gains for December and January were both revised higher, and new positions were added across industries in February.

Manufacturing businesses hired 31,000 workers. Banks and financial institutions added 28,000 jobs. Construction gained a robust 61,000 employees. Even mining firms, a job-losing industry in recent years, hired 9,000 workers.

 

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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