More Jobs Filled Even as Unemployment Rate Edges Up

Job Growth

Reaching 275,000, February jobs growth ran ahead of both the previous month’s activity of 229,000, (following a downward adjustment of 124,000) and the 12-month average of 230,000.

Top Industries

Jobs growth in February was strongest in healthcare, government, leisure and hospitality, social assistance, and transportation and warehousing. The manufacturing sector saw a decline in growth.


After three months holding firm at 3.7%, the unemployment rate rose to 3.9% in February. 


Average hourly wages were up by 0.1% in February and 4.3% for the past 12-month period.

Work Week 

The average work week ticked back up from 34.1 hours in January to 34.3 in February.

Temporary Job Trends 

The temp sector recorded a loss of 15,400 jobs in February.

What Does It All Mean?

The labor market often seems to deliver surprise results, and February was no exception. Hiring activity again exceeded expectations, marking the 38th month of consecutive growth. There was movement in the unemployment rate as well. It rose by 0.2 percentage points but still remains under 4%, which it has sustained for more than 50 years. While other economic indicators may tell a different story, the labor market remains a stalwart bellwether of a strong economy.

Even as some businesses tighten their belts, setting their sights on productivity gains to weather any economic uncertainty, others continue to hire. Worth noting is that many employers are taking longer to make hiring decisions. Devoting enough time to thoroughly assess candidate capabilities and potential is a good way to ensure a better fit, and that is good for both employer and employee.

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), CNBC, NBC, Staffing Industry Analysts, FOX Business, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, The New York Times, Bloomberg, AP News, USA Today, Reuters