Following a slow start to 2016, the U.S. nonfarm job market rebounded in February with theaddition of 242,000 new positions. While this total surpassed industry projections by nearly 25 percent, recent trends indicate these results should not be a surprise. Since 2013, nearly 248,000 new jobs on average have been created during February.
Overall, the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report demonstrates that more job seekers aren't coming off the sidelines and finding opportunities across various sectors. February 2016 marks the 72nd consecutive month (the equivalent of six years) of positive job growth, with revised totals from December 2015 and January 2016 adding 30,000 previously unreported positions to the market.
The sectors most responsible for February’s encouraging job data further reflect growing economic confidence among American workers. Fueled by significant expansion among food services and drinking places (+40,000), the leisure and hospitality industry added 48,000 new positions this month. Similarly, after leading all industries in job creation in January, retail trade followed its strong start to 2016 with the addition of 55,000 jobs in February. As Americans feel more comfortable spending on goods and experiences than they did in recent years, these industries could continue to grow even further.
Although the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.9 percent in February, this statistic’s stability can be viewed as a positive. According to Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com, “the longer the unemployment rate remains below 5 percent, the better the prospects are for better times ahead.”
The news was not as positive for the temporary services sector, which experienced a slight drop for the second straight month. February’s 9,800 position decline brings the overall job creation total to 2,912,600. The market share for temporary help services (as it relates to all jobs) fell slightly to 2.03 percent as a result. (Source: Bruce Steinberg, www.brucesteinberg.net)