U.S. Adds 175,000 Jobs in Still Chilly February

The U.S. economy warmed up a bit in February adding 175,000 net new jobs (nonfarm payroll). In the past 12-months, the country has added an average 180,000 net new jobs each month. After reporting a revised 84,000 job gain in December (up from an original estimate of 73,000), and 129,000 in January (up from the original estimate of 113,000), the U.S. economy appears to be gaining more momentum than originally thought.

The following graph shows the rise, decline and ongoing recovery in U.S. jobs since January 2007. The U.S. still has 651,000 fewer jobs than as of January 1, 2008.

3-7-14b graph

Not all sectors of the economy posted increases. Performance was as follows:

  • Professional and Business Services – +79,000 job gain in February (almost one-half of all new jobs). Within the sector, temporary help services added 24,000 while accounting and bookkeeping gained 16,000. In the past 12-months, this sector has gained an average 56,000 jobs per month.
  • Wholesale Trade – +15,000 job gain, mostly all in durable goods (+12,000). Past 12-month average increase was 9,000 per month.
  • Food Services and Drinking Places – +21,000 new jobs in February. In the past year, this sector averaged 27,000 new jobs per month.
  • Construction – +15,000 new jobs in February. 12,000 of those jobs in February were in heavy and civil engineering. 12-month average gain was 12,700 monthly.
  • Health Care — +10,000 jobs for the month, almost all in Office of Physicians +8,000
  • Retail Trade – down 4,000 in February (on a seasonally-adjusted basis), with an average 23,500 new jobs added each month in the past year.
  • Information – down 16,000 jobs in February—with most of the losses in the motion picture and sound recording segments.
  • Mining and Logging, Manufacturing, Transportations and Warehousing, Financial Activities and Government employment were essentially flat in February.

Am I surprised at this better than expected report? Not at all. I have written in the past that I truly expected job growth to pick up as the weather warmed. And I expect more of the same.

As the spring warms, so will the economy. It’s shaping up to be a good year from an economical perspective.


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