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Friday, March 6, 2015

February 2015 Unemployment Rate, Jobs

March 2015 numbers were released April 3.  March reports and details HERE.  Apr # to be released Friday, May 8th.

February 2015 Highlights (Specific reports listed below):
  • +295,000 total new payroll jobs; +288,000 new private sector jobs.  These large increases are again higher than the consensus of the "pundits", who estimated that we would add about 230,000 jobs in February.
  • The BLS decreased its January estimates from +257,000 new jobs to +239,000 new jobs; December estimates stayed the same.
  • Unemployment rate decreased by  .2% (two tenths of a percent) to 5.5%.  This decrease was due largely to a big decrease in the number of people who are unemployed.  
  • Alternate unemployment rate fell from 11.3% down to 11.0%.  This was due to a decrease in ALL segments that compose the alternate unemployment rate, particularly the overall number of unemployed and the number of involuntarily part-time workers.
  • Labor force participation rate decreased .1%.  The number of people in the labor force decreased by 178,000.  The reported number of people employed increased by 96,000, the reported number of people unemployed decreased by 274,000.
  • Number of people working full-time increased by about 123,000 while number of people working part-time decreased by about 75,000.  That's 2,975,000 MORE people working full-time over the past year, since February 2014, and 89,000 MORE people working part-time over the past year.  The percentage of all employed people who are working full-time is HIGHER than it has been since the end of 2008.   
  • The number of involuntary part-time workers (people working part-time because they couldn't find full-time work) decreased by 175,000 in February and dropped 569,000 over the past year, since February 2014.
  • Number of people holding multiple jobs decreased by about 500,000 since last month. 
  • The number of long-term unemployed (people looking for work over half a year) dropped by 91,000 in February, but has dropped 1,095,000 over the past year, since February 2014.
  • This report is a very good report in almost every respect; it will be interesting to see on what the negative "pundits" decide to focus.  
  • Since the "trough" of the recession in late 2009/early 2010 in seasonally adjusted numbers:
    • 11.5 million MORE jobs in total
    • 12 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 10.3 million MORE people working
    • 10.3 million MORE people working full-time.
    • 8,000 FEWER people working part-time.  
    • (Yes, despite what you may have heard, from the depth of the recession until now, we have many more additional people working full-time vs. part-time jobs. When a recession hits, companies generally cut back on full-time workers first.  When companies start hiring again, the number of full-time workers increases.)
    Since Bush left office & Obama took office (January 2009) in seasonally adjusted numbers:
    • 7.1 million MORE jobs in total
    • 7.8 million MORE private sector jobs
    • 6.1 million MORE people working
    • 5 million MORE people working full-time
    • 1.1 million MORE people working part-time

February 2015 reports: (Notation on the links will be changed to "UPDATED for FEBRUARY" when the updated reports become available.) 

      Preview (written Thursday night):

      "The pundits" expect about 235,000 more jobs when the BLS counts are released tomorrow morning at 8:30 a.m., with the unemployment rate remaining dropping .1% back to 5.6%.  If there are many more jobs but the unemployment rate stays the same, this would be a good indication that more people have entered the labor force in February, as they did in January.  If there is a wild card in this month's numbers, it is due (again) to really poor weather in the Midwest and Northeast.    
      • The ADP private payroller report came out yesterday which estimated an additional 212,000 private sector jobs in February.  Estimates for December and January were raised.  According to ADP's estimates, the US has added over 200,000 private sector jobs for at least the last 13 months.
      • Reuters reports that "About 238,000 jobs are expected to have been added in February, according to the non-farm payroll report that will be released on Friday, down from the 257,000 added in January."
      • The ISM (Institute of Supply Management) Employment Index increased 4.8 percentage points to 56.4 percent from the January reading of 51.6 percent and "indicates growth for the 12th consecutive month."
      • Bloomberg believes that the BLS report "may show U.S. payrolls rose by 235,000 in February, a slower pace than a month earlier, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg."  
      • The Consumer Sentiment index for February compiled by the University of Michigan  decreased to 95.4 from the January reading of 98.1.  But the Michigan people caution:  "Consumer optimism was affected by lower gas prices and an unusually harsh winter. The small overall decline from January still left consumer confidence at the highest levels in eight years. It is hard not to attribute the small February decline to the temporary impact of the harsh weather, as declines that occurred in the Northeast and Midwest were triple the average loss, while Southern residents grew more optimistic. Low gas prices had a larger impact on lower income households, narrowing the difference between low and high income households. The data indicate that total real personal consumption expenditures will grow at 3.3% during 2015."
      • "The Rasmussen Employment Index  which measures worker confidence "rose a point in February to tie the highest level measured in six years.  At 104.2, worker confidence is up from 103.3 in January and matches December’s all-time high."
      • Job search engine was the outlier again, but this time positively, projecting a net gain of 370,000 jobs in February.  (They base their projections largely on job openings.) 
      • The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits has risen for the last few weeks, and it rose last week "to its highest level since May, which could raise concerns about some weakness in the labor market."  according to MSN Money.  (However, this increase in the number of new claims could also be the result of terrible weather, both excessive snow and cold, this past month.)Money also noted:  "Other data on Thursday showed nonfarm productivity contracted more sharply than previously thought in the fourth quarter as output failed to keep up with a jump in hours.  Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 7,000 to a seasonally adjusted 320,000 for the week ended Feb. 28, the highest reading since mid-May, the Labor Department said on Thursday."

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