U.S. employers added 227,000 non-farm payroll jobs in February, keeping the unemployment rate steady month over month at 8.3 percent, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The latest jobs report may be a predictor of an improving economy and the overall jobs market, with more people starting to look for work. However, optimism does need to be tempered with some caution with 12.8 million people still unemployed, unchanged from last month – 5.4 million of which have been unemployed for longer than six months.
The average duration of unemployment remains at a historical high of 40 weeks. And of the unemployed, long-term jobless individuals make up 42.6 percent of the total unemployment rate. While the unemployment rate continues to decline, there remains a disparity in duration of unemployment based on education levels. Those who are less educated are facing longer term unemployment vs. their college-educated counterparts. And among work groups, unemployment rates also differ. Adult men and women are seeing an average rate of 7.7 percent respectively, while blacks and Hispanic work groups’ jobless rates are much higher at 14.1 and 10.7 percent, respectively. Teenagers show the highest jobless rate of 23.8 percent, while Asians show the lowest at 6.3 percent Most of the growth in jobs for the month was in manufacturing (31,000), health care (61,000), business and professional services (82,000), and the leisure and hospitality (44,000) sectors.The government sector cut 6,000 jobs, while local governments added 2,000 jobs this past month.