The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Friday report. That number beats most expectations, in part because economists have a more conservative jobs estimate for February after two disappointing months. (And a lot of bad weather.) Following January's 113,000 new jobs, the going estimate for today's report was 149,000, with either no change or a slight drop in the 6.6 percent unemployment rate. In fact, the unemployment rate went up by one tenth of a percentage point to 6.7 percent.
Once again, jobs report watchers expected the weather to factor into today's numbers, along with the expiration of long-term unemployment benefits in late December. Here's more from the report:
- 37 percent of the unemployed are long-term unemployed, or those without work for over 27 weeks. In total, there was a slight uptick in the number of long-term unemployed — 203,000 more people, to 3.8 million. That's despite the expiration of benefits for the long-term unemployed, which was expected to lead people to drop out of the workforce altogether.
- The number of "part time for economic reasons" (i.e. people who can't find full time work) was more or less steady at 7.2 million.
- One of the more dramatic gains in February come from average hourly earnings. Those jumped to $24.31, nine cents higher or a 0.4 percent increase. That beat expectations and also suggests that there is more competition for jobs. There's been a 2.2 percent increase in average hourly earnings over the past year.
- The professional and business services and wholesale trade sectors gained jobs, while information and entertainment lost workers.
You can read the full report here.