U.S. payroll growth slows to 20,000 for February

Payrolls continue to grow in the United States, but at a far slower pace in February, according to the latest labor estimates.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 20,000 and the unemployment rate declined two-tenths of point to 3.8 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported.

The February gain was the smallest for one month since September 2017, when hurricanes affected employment.

Estimated payroll gains for the previous two months were revised upward a total of 12,000 to 311,000 for January and  227,000 for December. Payrolls increased an average of 223,000 a month during 2018.

For February, 6.2 million people were counted among those unsuccessfully looking for work — of those, 1.3 million for 27 weeks or longer. Another 4.3 million people were counted among those working part time because their hours had been reduced or they’ve been unable to find full-time positions.

The labor force participation rate held steady at 63.2 percent, little changed over the year.

Job gains in February were spread out among industry sectors. Employment increased 42,000 in professional and business services, 21,000 in health care, 11,000 in wholesale trades and 4,000 in manufacturing.

Construction payrolls decreased 31,000, the first decline for the sector in more than two years, in part as a result of inclement winter weather.

The average workweek edged down a tenth of an hour to 34.4 hours. The manufacturing workweek slipped a tenth of an hour to 40.7 hours.

Average hourly wages for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 11 cents to $27.66. Over the past year, average wages have increased 3.4 percent, the biggest gain since April 2009.

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Posted by on Mar 8 2019. Filed under Business News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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