US Economy Beats Expectations, Adding 311,000 Jobs in February

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 went up to 3.6%, higher than the projected 3.4%, with the labor force participation rate increasing to 62.5%, which is its highest since March of last year. According to the survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to calculate the unemployment rate, there was a 177,000 decrease.[1] The unemployment rate, which takes into account discouraged workers and those working part-time due to economic reasons, rose to 6.8%, an uptick of 0.2 percentage points.[2]

The average hourly earnings, a gauge of wages, increased by 0.2% in February, resulting in an annual increase of 4.6%, lower than expected. Hourly earnings have increased by 4.6% since February of last year. The labor force participation rate, which is the proportion of people employed or actively seeking employment, rose to 62.5% in February from 62.4% in January.

Mixed signals from the labor market have left the Federal Reserve in a tricky spot. When inflation data seemed to be decreasing in late 2022, investors predicted that the Fed would reduce its rate increase rate.[3] In February, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to raise the rate by 0.25%, and stated that further increases would be minimal.[3]

Nonfarm payrolls increased 311,000 in February, well ahead of the Wall Street estimate for 225,000 but still a step down from January’s 504,000.[4] Employment in leisure and hospitality saw an increase of 105,000, which is similar to the average of 91,000 over the past six months.[2] Retail experienced an increase of 50,000[1] An increase of 45,000 was seen in professional and business services, and the government added 46,000.[1]

Gains in employment were most notable in the leisure and hospitality, retail, government, and healthcare industries.[5] Information, transportation, and warehousing sectors experienced job losses.[6]

Forecasts ahead of this morning suggested that approximately 225,000 jobs would be created in the U.S. in February.[7] The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ new report has revealed that the domestic job market has done significantly better than expected.[8]

There are indications that wage increases are beginning to slow down.[9]

0. “Pulling Back the Curtain: Jobs Data Show Signs of Cooling Despite Hot Headline Growth – Ticker Tape” The Ticker Tape, 10 Mar. 2023,

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

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

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

4. “US Jobs Report February 2023: Payrolls Top Estimates, Unemployment Rate Rises” Bloomberg, 10 Mar. 2023,

5. “The US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, outpacing expectations” CNN, 10 Mar. 2023,

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

7. “February’s Jobs Report Brings More Confusing Economic News” TIME, 10 Mar. 2023,

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

9. “Jobs added in February slow from January, still stronger than consensus: nonfarm payrolls” Seeking Alpha, 10 Mar. 2023,