February’s Jobs Report in 10 Charts – Real Time Economics

The U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs in February, the 12th straight month where job gains surpassed 200,000. That adds up to 3.3 million net new jobs, the best yearlong period of job gains in nearly 15 years.

The headline jobless rate declined to 5.5%, the lowest since May 2008 and down from 5.7% in January. Measures of unemployment that include discouraged workers and marginally attached workers also declined. The broadest measure of underemployment, which also includes part-time workers who would like full-time work, declined to 11%, from 11.3% last month.

The share of Americans participating in the labor force edged down slightly and remains near the lowest level in 36 years. The share of Americans with jobs was unchanged this month but has improved over the past year.

Most of the employment gains over the past five years have come from full-time jobs. But the recovery has not yet been sufficient to restore the number of full-time jobs that the economy had before the recession.

 Unemployment has fallen for workers of all education levels.

Despite the improvement in the overall rate of unemployment, an unusually large share of the unemployed have remained out of work for half a year or more. Among the unemployed, 31.1% have been jobless for more than half a year, a higher share than during any of the previous three recessions.

The average spell of unemployment remains unusually long at 13.4 weeks.

The share of workers facing short-term unemployment is back to prerecession levels. The share of long-term unemployment remains elevated.

Average hourly earnings have yet to show a sustainable rise and have hovered near 2% annual gains for most of the recovery.

The Federal Reserve estimated in December that an unemployment rate of 5.2% to 5.5% would be consistent with full employment. That means that today’s report has pushed the unemployment rate squarely within the Fed’s “full employment” range. Officials will update their forecasts later this month, but the unemployment rate falling into their range could be a key factor behind a decision to raise interest rates later this year.

Related reading:

U.S. Adds Jobs at Steady Clip, but Wage Growth Remains Soft

Economists React to the February Jobs Report: ‘Full Employment!’

Hilsenrath’s Take: Robust Jobs Report Keeps Fed Moving Toward Midyear Rate Increase

Some Fed Officials Think the U.S. Economy Is Already at Full Employment

February Jobs Report: Wage Growth Is Stuck Around 2%

5 Takeaways From the February Jobs Report

February Jobs Report: The Numbers

This Week’s Global Economic Scorecard

WSJ Graphics: Job Market Tracker



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6 March 2015 | 3:12 pm – Source: blogs.wsj.com


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