Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 678,000 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total unemployed rate edged down to 3.8% in February, reflecting the slight decrease to 6.3 million unemployed persons. However, this remains 0.6 million, or 0.3%, above February 2020 levels due to a decline in the labor force participation rate.
Most of the job gains in February were in leisure and hospitality, in professional and business services, in health care and in construction.
Employment in leisure and hospitality expanded by 179,000 in February, reflecting job gains in food services and drinking places (+124,000) and in the accommodation industry(+28,000). Since February 2020, employment in leisure and hospitality is down by 1.5 million, or 9.0%.
Employment in professional and business services added 95,000 jobs. Job gains occurred in temporary help services (+36,000), management of companies and enterprises (+12,000), management and technical consulting services (+10,000), and scientific research and development services (+8,000).
Employment in professional and business services is 596,000 higher than in February 2020, largely in temporary help services (+240,000), computer systems design and related services (+154,000), and management and technical consulting services (+152,000).
Employment in retail trade rose by 37,000 in February. Job growth occurred in building material and garden supply stores (+12,000), in furniture and home furnishings stores (+6,000), and in gasoline stations (+5,000). Retail trade employment is 104,000 above its level in February 2020.
The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.3%. Persons on temporary layoff was little changed at 888,000 in February. Workers with permanent job loss changed little at 1.6 million. Both measures are higher than their February 2020 levels of 780,000 and 1.3 million, respectively.
Read the BLS release.