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Friday, March 9, 2018

February 2018: Unemployment Rate, Jobs

The February 2018 Jobs Report was released by the government's Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning, Friday, March 9, 2018.  Job growth was strong and the unemployment rate remained stable.

  • The report showed an increase of 313,0000 jobs which was quite a bit more than the 200,000 additional jobs that the pundits expected.

  • The unemployment rate continued at 4.1% for the fifth consecutive month.
Other February 2018 Job Report Highlights: 
  • Year-over-year (February 2017 to February 2018) we have added about 2,281,000 jobs; slightly less than the 2,443,000 jobs added year-over-year from February 2016 to February 2017.
  • In 2017 we added about 2.2 million jobs; slightly less than the 2.3 million jobs we added in 2016.
  • Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 242,000 per month.  Over the past 12 months, job gains have averaged  190,000 per month.
  • The number of employed people increased by 785,000 in the month; the number of employed people increased by 2,704,000 year-over-year.
  • The number of unemployed people INCREASED by  22,000 as 806,000 people joined the labor force during the month.
  • The number of unemployed people decreased by 780,000 year over year even as 1,924,000 people joined the labor force.  (You don't have to be receiving unemployment benefits to be counted as unemployed; you merely need to be looking for work.)
  • 729,000 MORE people are working full-time and 277,000 MORE  people were working part-time in February vs. January in seasonally-adjusted numbers.
  • Compared to February 2017, 2,674,000 MORE people are working full-time and 22,000  MORE people are working part-time using seasonally adjusted numbers. 
  • The alternate unemployment rate (U-6) stayed the same at 8.2% this month.  A year ago the U-6 rate was 9.2%.
  • The Labor Force participation rate has been VERY stable since 2014, varying between 62.4% and 63%.  It was 63.0% in February 2018, up 0.3% from January 2018.  It was 62.9% a year ago, in February 2017.
  • Remember that there is NO ideal labor force size, and most of the overall decrease in the labor force participation RATE over the last few years has been due to Baby Boomers retiring in great numbers.
Revisions from the last BLS report: 
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised up from +160,000 to +175,000, and the change for January was revised up from +200,000 to +239,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January combined were 54,000 more than previously reported. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.) After revisions, job gains have averaged 242,000 over the last 3 months. 

February reports (to be updated as new reports are published):

More reports will be added in the coming hours.  Please check back!


Various prognosticators were estimating that around 200,000 new jobs were created in February.  That would have been slightly above the 192,000 average new jobs created in each of the last three months.  However, with new jobs at 313,000 in February, the average new jobs created in the last 3 months is 242,000, a significant increase.

Meanwhile, the payroll processor ADP estimated that we added 235,000 private sector jobs in February, they also revised their January estimate from 234,000 to 244,000 new jobs.  ADP's estimates had been somewhat higher than the BLS numbers over the last few months, but February appears to be an exception.  

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