In advance of the last two monthly job reports, expectations were high, making the underwhelming totals that much more disappointing. Today’s announcement was a more pleasant reversal – job creation exceeded modest expectations.
The new report from Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, beating economists’ predictions. The unemployment rate inched higher to 6.7%, though as we’ve discussed many times, that’s not the metric to watch.
In a rare occurrence, public-sector layoffs did not drag down the overall employment figures. Though most months in recent years have shown monthly government job losses, in February, the private sector added 162,000 while the public sector added an unusually high 13,000.
Adding to the good news, the job totals for both December and January were both revised up a little, pointing to an additional 25,000 jobs that had been previously unreported.
All told, over the last 12 months, the U.S. economy has added over 2.15 million jobs overall and 2.19 million in the private sector. What’s more, February was the 48th consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth.
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.
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