Jobs Number Hits 379,000 Last Month As Unemployment Rate Continues to Drop


For the first time since November, the jobs market recorded a solid rebound, with 379,000 new jobs.


The highest jobs growth was reported in leisure and hospitality, as pandemic restrictions continued to ease. There were more modest increases in temporary help services, healthcare, retail trade and manufacturing.


With 10 million Americans still out of work, the unemployment rate, which has seen little movement in the past several months, decreased by 0.1 percentage point to reach 6.2%.


Average hourly earnings rose by seven cents in February.


The average work week slipped to 34.6 hours.


The temporary help sector has been adding jobs for 10 months now, with another 52,700 new positions reported for February.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?  Over the past year, the economy has surged and plummeted more than once. Activity this month, however, when coupled with the declining incidence of infections and the rising number of vaccinations, may signal a more sustainable trend. This may be the beginning of a true comeback, although we will need to see strong growth over multiple months to get a real sense of momentum and to restore confidence. As shuttered businesses reopen their doors and more schools return to onsite learning, we can expect to see more people re-enter the workforce. A stronger jobs market typically brings with it greater mobility across the board. For more than a year, so many aspects of life have been on hold, including career aspirations, so expect to see more people looking for job change. There may be a tendency to rush toward the new and different, but talent decisions should always be approached thoughtfully, whether you are doing the hiring or looking to be hired.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, Staffing Industry Analysts, American Staffing Association, Bloomberg, The New York Times, Washington Post