U.S. Hiring Slows, Adding Only 20,000 Jobs in February

NATIONAL REPORT—The U.S. unemployment rate declined to 3.8%, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment in professional and business services, healthcare and wholesale trade continued to trend up, while construction employment decreased.

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 3.8% in February, and the number of unemployed persons decreased by 300,000 to 6.2 million. Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs (including people on temporary layoff) declined by 225,000. This decline reflects, in part, the return of federal workers who were furloughed in January due to the partial government shutdown.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5%), Whites (3.3%), and Hispanics (4.3%) decreased in February. The jobless rates for adult women (3.4%), teenagers (13.4%), Blacks (7%), and Asians (3.1%) showed little or no change over the month.

In February, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.3 million and accounted for 20.4% of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate held at 63.2% in February and has changed little over the year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.7%, was unchanged over the month but was up by 0.3 percentage point over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) decreased by 837,000 to 4.3 million in February. This decline follows a sharp increase in January that may have resulted from the partial federal government shutdown. (Persons employed part time for economic reasons would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.)