February Jobs Report: U.S. Economy Adds 311,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.6%

The U.S. economy added 311,000 jobs in February, according to the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment snapshot, released Friday.[0] The unemployment rate increased to 3.6%, which was higher than the predicted 3.4%, and the labor force participation rate also rose to 62.5%, its highest level since March of 2020. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ survey of households, used to calculate the unemployment rate, revealed a decrease of 177,000.[1] The unemployment rate, taking into account discouraged workers and those who are working part-time due to economic constraints, rose to 6.8%, a 0.2 percentage point increase.

The leisure and hospitality industry had the highest increase in payrolls among major industries, adding a total of 105,000 jobs.[2] Retail experienced an increase of 50,[3] An additional 46,000 jobs were created by the government, while professional and business services experienced a rise of 45,000.[3] Information as well as transportation and warehousing are two major industries that saw declines in February, with the information industry losing 25,000 jobs and transportation and warehousing shedding 22,000.[4]

The average hourly wage, which the Federal Reserve pays close attention to in order to gauge the effect of wage increases on inflation, increased by 0.2% month-to-month and was 4.6% higher than the year before. The average hourly wage increased 0.2% from the previous month, a smaller amount than what was predicted (0 The annual wage growth rate of 4.6% was lower than the anticipated 4.7[5]

Economists predicted an increase of about 225,000 jobs in February and that the unemployment rate would remain at 3.4 percent.[6] The headline jobs gain was strong; however, the report indicated that the labor market may be crumbling under the weight of the Federal Reserve’s eight successive interest rate increases.[7]

The 10-year Treasury yield decreased by over 14 basis points to 3.779% in response to the report.[5] Stocks have been adversely affected by the surge in rates this year.[8] The spotlight is on the upcoming Consumer Price Index report for next week, which could potentially provide more insight into inflationary pressures, and thus determine if the Fed decides to raise interest rates by a quarter-point or a half-point in the next 12 days.[9]

When the February jobs report is released on Friday, everyone will be watching closely. This is due to the unexpected surge in hiring during the previous month, which caused economists to question the situation and worry about the potential for widespread inflation.[10]

0. “February jobs report: U.S. economy added 311,000 jobs” Axios, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.axios.com/2023/03/10/us-february-jobs-report-2023

1. “Payrolls rose 311,000 in February, more than expected, showing solid growth” CNBC, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/10/jobs-report-february-2023.html

2. “The US added 311,000 jobs in February, unemployment rate at 3.6%” Business Insider, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.businessinsider.com/job-growth-unemployment-rate-recession-outlook-february-jobs-report-2023-3

3. “US hiring boom continued in February with 311,000 added jobs” The Guardian, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/mar/10/us-jobs-report-february-2023

4. “US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, exceeding expectations” NBC News, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/payrolls-rose-311000-february-expected-jobs-growth-stays-hot-rcna74329

5. “Jobs Report: Soft Wage Growth Offsets Strong Hiring” Investor’s Business Daily, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.investors.com/news/economy/jobs-report-soft-wage-growth-offsets-strong-hiring-sp-500-futures-rise/

6. “Jobs report: US economy adds 311,000 jobs in February as labor market stays strong” Yahoo Money, 10 Mar. 2023, https://money.yahoo.com/february-jobs-report-march-10-2023-124602371.html

7. “Economy adds 311K jobs in February, unemployment rises to 3.6 percent” The Hill, 10 Mar. 2023, https://thehill.com/business/economy/3893074-jobs-report-economy-inflation-labor-unemployment

8. “S&P 500 falls as Silicon Valley Bank woes hit banking shares: Live updates: Live updates” CNBC, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/09/stock-market-today-live-updates.html

9. “Jobs added in February slow from January, still stronger than consensus: nonfarm payrolls” Seeking Alpha, 10 Mar. 2023, https://seekingalpha.com/news/3946444-jobs-added-in-february-slow-from-january-still-stronger-than-expected-nonfarm-payrolls

10. “Friday’s Jobs Report Is In. What It Means for the Fed.” Barron’s, 10 Mar. 2023, https://www.barrons.com/articles/february-jobs-report-today-39762ac