US economy added 311,000 jobs in February

On Friday, the US Labor Department released its monthly employment snapshot, revealing that the US economy added 311,000 jobs in February. While this number marks a drop from the 504,000 positions added in January, the latest report demonstrates that the labor market is still producing plenty of growth. The unemployment rate ticked up from 3.4% in January to 3.6% in February.

According to Refinitiv, economists had anticipated a net gain of 205,000 jobs for February and an unemployment rate of 3.4%. Senior Economic Analyst at Bankrate, Mark Hamrick, stated that “the unemployment rate is up 0.2% to 3.6%, higher than forecast… Contributing to upward pressure here, there were more people looking for work.”

Notable industries with job gains included leisure and hospitality, retail trade, government, and health care. The leisure and hospitality sector, which was severely impacted by the pandemic, has been gradually rehiring employees and attempting to meet the surging demand from consumers who are shifting their spending from goods to services.

As the Fed attempts to combat the highest inflation in 40 years, average hourly earnings – a closely watched metric – grew 0.2% month-on-month and were up 4.6% over the year before. The labor force participation rate also increased to 62.5% from 62.4%. Despite the Fed’s efforts to slow the economy and crush inflation, the labor market continues to resist those efforts.

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