By most projections, economists expected U.S. job growth in February to cool a bit, slipping from its fast pace in recent months. Fortunately, the projections were wrong – a proper jobs boom is underway.
The new report from Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February. The overall unemployment rate dropped 5.7% to 5.5%, reaching its lowest level since May 2008 – nearly seven years ago.
In terms of the recent revisions, the picture looks largely unchanged. December’s totals held steady at 329,000 jobs, while January’s picture was revised down slightly, from 257,000 to 239,000.
All told, the U.S. has added an amazing 3.3 million jobs over the last 12 months. In fact, we’ve had 12 consecutive months of job growth over 200,000 – the first time Americans have seen this since 1995, and only the second time since 1984. It’s also the first time we’ve seen private-sector job growth over 200,000 for 12 consecutive months since 1977*.
What’s more, February was the 53rd consecutive month of positive job growth – the best stretch since 1939 – and the 58th consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record.
Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction – red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.
Second Update: OK, one more chart, this one showing the national unemployment rate since President Obama took office.
* Correction: I’d originally said we’ve seen 12 consecutive months of more than 200,000 jobs for the first time since 1984, but it turns out there was a similar streak in 1995. The above text has been edited to reflect the accurate data.