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Friday, March 6, 2015

How Many Jobs Were Created or Lost in February 2015?

This report has been updated for April 2015 HERE.

How Many Jobs Were Created (Gained) or lost by firms, companies, or government employers in the U.S. in February 2015?

April 2015 numbers were released Friday May 8th. Details HERE.  

  • 295,000 TOTAL payroll jobs were ADDED or CREATED in seasonally adjusted numbers.
  • 288,000 PRIVATE payroll sector jobs were ADDED or CREATED in seasonally adjusted numbers.
  • 7,000 GOVERNMENT (federal, state, and local) jobs were CREATED in February. 
  • 96,000 MORE people employed.
  • 123,000 MORE people employed full-time. 
  • 75,000 FEWER people employed part-time.
  • 175,000 FEWER people employed part-time involuntarily.  (In other words, people who want full-time work but can only find part-time work.)
  • 274,000 FEWER people unemployed.
  • Unemployment rate decreased to 5.5% from 5.7% primarily due to an increase in the number of people working, a decrease in the number of people who were unemployed, and a decrease in the number of people in the civilian labor force.
  • The alternate unemployment rate decreased to 11.0% from 11.3%. 
  • 178,000 FEWER people in the civilian labor force (people either working or looking for work).  Why did these people leave the labor force?  Continue reading below...

But how many jobs were LOST in February?

All jobs numbers reported monthly by Bureau of Labor Statistics are NET jobs numbers.  In other words, they represent the number of jobs after all job losses are subtracted from all job gains (new jobs).  If there are job gains, that means that there are more new jobs, more people being hired, than people being fired or jobs being cut.  If there are jobs losses, that means that there are fewer new jobs, fewer people being hired, than people being fired or jobs being cut.  Every month since September 2010, we have had more new jobs created than jobs lost.  This is the longest period of consecutive job growth since these records have been kept.   

The more specific numbers of new hires and number of jobs cut are detailed in the monthly Job Openings, Layoffs, and Turnover Survey (JOLTS) which is published about six weeks after the monthly jobs reports.  This link "How Many People were fired in 2014?" provides a more in-depth explanation of how many people lose their jobs and how many people get new jobs every month.  For example, in 2014 over 55,000 people were fired or laid off on average each DAY... but an average of 160,000 people were HIRED each DAY in 2014.

Did people leave the labor force in despair, discouragement, and misery?

The labor force in the United States is huge and volatile.  Millions of people enter and leave the labor force every month in the United States; you can find more specifics HERE. 

But here's what happened to people in February:

  • In January, there were 157,180,000 people in the civilian labor force.
  • 2,184,000 who were not in the labor force in January entered the labor force and started LOOKING FOR WORK in February.
  • 4,435,000 who were not in the labor force in January entered the labor force and started WORKING in February.  
  • Meanwhile, 2,313,000 people who had been looking for work in January STOPPED LOOKING FOR WORK and left the labor force in February.  As the weather was so bad in February, it is possible that some of these people decided to postpone their work search until the weather improved. 
  • And 4,515,000 people who had been employed in January STOPPED WORKING (and were not looking for work) in February.  A big chunk of these people probably retired, though we don't know that for sure.)
  • These numbers, plus adjustments for relatively small numbers of people turning 16, people dying, people leaving or entering the country, resulted in a slightly smaller labor force of 157,002,000 in February.  
To Summarize:  

In summary, there are many many more payroll jobs and more people employed in February.  Almost all of the newly employed people are working full-time vs. part-time.  

The unemployment rate decreased as more people started working, as the number of people unemployed decreased, and as some people left the labor force.  The numbers of unemployed people who stopped looking for work in February may have been influenced by the terrible weather in the Northeast and Midwest during February.  As usual, the numbers in any one month need to be taken with a grain of salt, as any movements in any one month are not necessarily trends.

However, we have now had 60 consecutive months of private sector job creation, a record as long as such numbers have been kept.  

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