242,000 Jobs Added in February, Unemployment Holds at 4.9 Percent

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 242,000 in February, up from last month’s upwardly revised total of 172,000. The national unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent.

The services sector added 245,000 jobs, up from 153,000 in January. The majority of new service jobs were in education and healthcare, which added 86,000. Retail trade employment continued to grow, adding 54,900 jobs during the month. Over the past 12 months, retail trade has added 339,000 jobs.

Goods producing industries shed jobs during the month. Employment in mining and logging fell by 18,000, and has lost 171,000 jobs since peaking in September 2014. The manufacturing sector also shed jobs in February, as employment in both durable and nondurable goods manufacturing fell by 12,000 and 4,000 jobs respectively. Construction employment was a bright spot within goods producing industries, adding 19,000 jobs in February. Over the past 12 months, the construction industry has added 253,000 jobs.

The civilian labor force participation rate moved up slightly to 62.9 percent in February. The number of long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, edged up slightly to 2.2 million in February. The number of discouraged workers, those who gave up looking for work was 599,000, down 133,000 from a year ago.

Average hourly earnings declined by 3 cents to $25.35 in February after a 12 cent increase last month. Year-over-year, earnings have grown by 2.2 percent.

Read the BLS release.