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February's Jobs Numbers Are Out: Here's What You Need to Know


How did we do?

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

U.S. employers added 175,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate increased slightly to 6.7 percent, up from its previous rate of 6.6 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Earlier estimates had put the number of new jobs at around 149,000.

Unlike December and January, February was not as bleak for those who have simply given up looking for work. The U-6 unemployment rate, considered a broader measure of actual unemployment in the U.S., fell to 12.6 percent, down from its earlier read of 12.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate held steady at 63 percent, a 35-year low:


The slight increase in unemployment comes at a time when the United States Federal Reserve continues to struggle over the question of how to ease itself off of its multibillion-dollar quantitative easing policies. The Fed announced in December it would drawdown its $85 billion monthly purchases of Treasurys and Treasury mortgage-backed securities by $5 billion each starting in January.

Industries, including mining and logging, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, saw virtually no change in employment in February, according to Friday’s report.

Further, according to the report, the employment-population ratio was “unchanged in February.”


Here’s unemployment broken up by group:

  • Men: 6.4 Percent (previous: 6.2 percent)
  • Women: 5.9 percent (previous: 5.9 percent)
  • Teenagers: 21.4 percent (previous: 20.7 percent)
  • Whites: 5.8 percent (previous: 5.7 percent)
  • Blacks: 12.0 percent (previous: 12.1 percent)
  • Hispanics: 8.1 percent (previous: 8.4 percent)
  • Asians (not seasonally adjusted): 6.0 percent (previous: 4.8 percent)

At 3.8 million, the number of the long-term unemployed (i.e. people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more) increased by roughly 293,000 in February, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the number of persons “marginally attached” to the labor force in January increased to 2.3 million, down from its previous posting of 2.6 million.

“These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12  months,” the report reads. “They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”

It continues:

Among the marginally attached, there were 755,000 discouraged workers in February, down by 130,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Markets are poised to open mixed Friday morning, still shaken and cautious on the tension in Ukraine:


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This post has been updated.

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