US Economy Adds 311,000 Jobs in February, Labor Force Participation Rate Up

The US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, according to the Labor Department’s closely watched monthly employment snapshot released Friday, outpacing expectations of 205,000.[0] The unemployment rate unexpectedly increased to 3.6%, surpassing the prediction of 3.4%, while the labor force participation rate also rose to its highest point since March 2020 at 62.5%.[1] The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ survey of households revealed a 177,000 decrease in their computation of the unemployment rate.[2] The unemployment rate, including those who are discouraged and those who are working part-time for economic reasons, went up 0.2 percentage points to 6.8%.[2]

Major industries experienced an increase in payroll of 105,000, with leisure and hospitality in the lead.[3] In February, both information and transportation/warehousing industries experienced a decrease.[4] Hourly wages increased by 0.2 percent in February, resulting in a 4.6-percent annual increase. This was lower than what was expected.[5]

Analysts at Commerzbank are bullish on the US labor market and expect another solid jobs report.[6] Economists on Wall Street anticipate the jobs report for February will demonstrate that employers added 220,000 positions.[7] January’s numbers had been distorted upward by seasonal adjustments and other statistical quirks, but the report showed that the economy added 504,000 jobs in January, a total that was revised down only slightly from the initially reported 517,000.[8]

In January, the labor force participation rate increased to 62.5% from 62.4%, with more people employed or looking for work.[9]

It is expected that the jobs report will enable the Federal Reserve to continue with its plan to raise interest rates at its meeting on March 21-22.[2] Traders estimated that there was only a 48.4% chance, or approximately a 50-50 chance, that the central bank will make a 0.5 percentage point increase, according to a CME Group estimate.[2] By the end of 2022, with inflation data appearing to have cooled off, markets predicted that the Fed would moderate its rate hikes.[10] In February, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise interest rates by 0.25%, and stated that further increases would be gradual.[10]

0. “Friday’s Jobs Report Is In. What It Means for the Fed.” Barron’s, 10 Mar. 2023,

1. “Gold price gains as U.S. jobs number beats expectations in February, but unemployment rate climbs” Kitco NEWS, 10 Mar. 2023,

2. “Payrolls rose 311,000 in February, more than expected, showing solid growth” CNBC, 10 Mar. 2023,

3. “US hiring boom continued in February with 311,000 added jobs” The Guardian, 10 Mar. 2023,

4. “The US added 311,000 jobs in February, unemployment rate at 3.6%” Business Insider, 10 Mar. 2023,

5. “Jobs report: US economy adds 311,000 jobs in February as labor market stays strong” Yahoo Money, 10 Mar. 2023,

6. “Nonfarm Payrolls rise by 311,000 in February vs. 205,000 expected” FXStreet, 10 Mar. 2023,

7. “Why Friday’s Jobs Report Won’t Save The S&P 500 From Fed Hawks” Investor’s Business Daily, 9 Mar. 2023,

8. “Robust job growth exceeded expectations again in February” MSNBC, 10 Mar. 2023,

9. “US Jobs Report: Gold finger stretches higher on intraday charts as NFP data comes out mixed” FXStreet, 10 Mar. 2023,

10. “US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, exceeding expectations” NBC News, 10 Mar. 2023,