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Economic News Release

Commissioner's Statement on the Employment Situation News Release

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.

                          Statement of
                      William J. Wiatrowski
                       Acting Commissioner
                   Bureau of Labor Statistics

                     Friday, March 10, 2017

      Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 235,000 in February, and 
the unemployment rate changed little at 4.7 percent. Job gains 
occurred in construction, private educational services, 
manufacturing, health care, and mining.
      Incorporating revisions for December and January, which 
increased nonfarm payroll employment by 9,000 on net, monthly 
job gains have averaged 209,000 over the past 3 months.
      In the goods-producing sector, construction employment rose 
by 58,000 in February, after increasing by 40,000 a month 
earlier. Job growth continued among residential specialty trade 
contractors in February (+15,000). Employment among 
nonresidential specialty trade contractors grew by 22,000, after 
changing little in recent months. Job gains also occurred in 
heavy and civil engineering construction over the month 
      Employment in manufacturing increased by 28,000 in 
February. Employment rose in food manufacturing (+9,000) and in 
machinery (+7,000), while transportation equipment lost 6,000 
jobs. Manufacturing has added 57,000 jobs since November. 
      Mining added 8,000 jobs in February, led by a gain in 
support activities for mining (+6,000). Mining employment has 
increased by 20,000 since a recent low in October 2016.
      In the service-providing sector, private educational 
services added 29,000 jobs in February, following little 
employment change in January (-5,000). This industry has added 
105,000 jobs over the year.
      Health care employment rose by 27,000 in February, with 
most of the gain in ambulatory health care services (+18,000). 
Health care has added 357,000 jobs over the past 12 months. 
      Employment continued to trend up in professional and 
business services in February (+37,000) and has increased by 
597,000 over the year.
      Retail trade employment edged down in February (-26,000), 
following an increase of 40,000 in the prior month.
      Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm 
payrolls rose by 6 cents in February, following a gain of 5 
cents in January. Over the past 12 months, average hourly 
earnings have risen by 2.8 percent. From January 2016 to January 
2017, the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) 
increased by 2.5 percent (on a seasonally adjusted basis).
      Turning to measures from the survey of households, the 
major labor market indicators were about unchanged over the 
month. Both the unemployment rate, at 4.7 percent, and the 
number of unemployed people, at 7.5 million, remained little 
changed in February. There was also little movement in the 
number of unemployed people who had been looking for work for 27 
weeks or more. In February, there were 1.8 million such 
individuals, who accounted for 23.8 percent of the unemployed.
      Both the labor force participation rate, at 63.0 percent, 
and the employment-population ratio, at 60.0 percent, showed 
little change in February.
      Among the employed, 5.7 million worked part time for 
economic reasons in February, little different from January. 
(These involuntary part-time workers would prefer to work full 
time but had their hours cut back or were unable to find full-
time jobs.)
      Among those neither working nor looking for work in 
February, 1.7 million were marginally attached to the labor 
force, about the same as a year earlier. Discouraged workers, a 
subset of the marginally attached who believed that no jobs were 
available for them, numbered 522,000 in February, also little 
changed from a year earlier. (People who are marginally attached 
to the labor force 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.)
      In summary, nonfarm payroll employment rose by 235,000 in 
February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 4.7 

Last Modified Date: March 10, 2017