Advance copies of this statement are made available to the press
under lock-up conditions with the explicit understanding that
the data are embargoed until 8:30 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.
Erica L. Groshen
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Friday, March 6, 2015
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 295,000 in
February, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.5 percent.
Employment rose in food services and drinking places,
professional and business services, construction, health care,
and in transportation and warehousing. Mining employment fell
over the month.
Incorporating the revisions for December and January, which
reduced nonfarm employment by 18,000 on net, monthly job gains
have averaged 288,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12 months
prior to February, employment growth averaged 266,000 per month.
Food services and drinking places added 59,000 jobs in
February, compared with an average monthly gain of 35,000 over
the prior 12 months.
Professional and business services employment increased by
51,000 in February. Employment continued to trend up in
management and technical consulting services (+7,000), computer
systems design and related services (+5,000), and architectural
and engineering services (+5,000). Elsewhere in professional and
business services, employment in temporary help services was
little changed over the month.
Construction employment rose by 29,000 in February, about
in line with job gains in the industry over the prior 12 months.
In February, employment rose by 27,000 in specialty trade
contractors, including a gain of 17,000 in the residential
Health care employment increased by 24,000 over the month,
with job gains in ambulatory care services and in hospitals.
Over the past 12 months, health care has added 356,000 jobs.
Transportation and warehousing employment rose by 19,000 in
February. This job gain occurred mostly in couriers and
In retail trade, employment continued to trend up over the
month (+32,000). Over the past year, retailers have added
Employment in manufacturing continued to trend up in
February (+8,000). Within nondurable manufacturing, employment
in petroleum and coal products fell by 6,000, largely due to a
Employment in mining fell by 9,000 over the month, mostly
in support activities for mining.
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls rose by 3 cents in February to $24.78. Over the past 12
months, average hourly earnings have risen by 48 cents, or 2.0
percent. From January 2014 to January 2015, the Consumer Price
Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) declined by 0.2 percent.
Turning now to our survey of households, both the
unemployment rate, at 5.5 percent, and the number of unemployed
persons, at 8.7 million, edged down in February. Both measures
were down over the year, by 1.2 percentage points and 1.7
In February, the number of unemployed persons who had been
jobless for 27 weeks or more was little changed at 2.7 million.
These individuals accounted for 31.1 percent of the total
unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term
unemployed is down by 1.1 million.
The labor force participation rate was little changed at
62.8 percent in February and has remained within a narrow range
of 62.7 to 62.9 percent since April 2014.
The employment-population ratio, at 59.3 percent, was
unchanged in February. Over the year, the employment-population
ratio is up by 0.5 percentage point.
In February, the number of people working part time for
economic reasons was 6.6 million, little changed over the month.
These individuals, who would have preferred full-time
employment, were working part time because their hours had been
cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work.
Among people who were neither working nor looking for work
in February, 2.2 million were classified as marginally attached
to the labor force, little changed over the year. These
individuals had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the
survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked
for a job within the last 12 months. The number of discouraged
workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that
no jobs were available for them, was 732,000 in February, also
little changed over the year.
In summary, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 295,000
in February, and the unemployment rate edged down to 5.5