Robust Job Gains: 242,000 New U.S. Jobs Added in February

The latest jobs numbers are out from the federal government. What do they mean for job seekers and employers? Here’s a quick take from Glassdoor’s Chief Economist Dr. Andrew Chamberlain:

Today’s jobs report revealed a resilient U.S. economy that continues on a path toward slow and steady growth. The economy added a robust 242,000 new jobs in February, well above most economists’ expectations.

With this month’s report, the U.S. economy has added jobs every month for 65 consecutive months—the longest streak on record since the 1930s. The U.S. unemployment rate remained at 4.9 percent, and even the much-debated labor force participation rate rose slightly by 0.2 percent to 62.9 percent.

One downside of today’s report was disappointing wage growth. Average hourly wages rose by just 2.2 percent from one year ago, to $25.35 per hour. That’s slower than the recent pace of 2.5 percent growth, and well below the 3 to 4 percent wage growth we typically see in normal times. One partial explanation for slow wage growth that we’ve watched closely is the increase in employers offering more benefits—or non-wage compensation—over wages.

The largest job gains were in the health care industry, which added a whopping 57,400 new jobs in February. Other big gains were in retail (54,900 jobs) and leisure and hospitality (48,000 jobs). The construction industry—a bell weather of investor expectations for economic growth in coming months—posted gains of 19,000 new jobs. The biggest job losers were mining (-18,000 jobs) and manufacturing (-16,000 jobs).

Today, we remain cautiously optimistic on our outlook for U.S. job growth. Despite recent market volatility, essentially every economic indicator of the labor market—both official BLS statistics and Glassdoor’s real-time indicators of job growth—remains positive. As of today, there is little evidence of a looming slow down in the U.S. labor market.

To speak with Dr. Andrew Chamberlain about today’s jobs report or to discuss labor market trends, contact pr at Glassdoor dot com. For the latest economics and labor market updates, follow @adchamberlain on Twitter and subscribe to Glassdoor Economic Research.