Feb. Unemployment Chart

US Economy Adds 379,000 Jobs in February Led by Leisure and Hospitality Hiring

by Julia Sanders

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. economy added 379,000 jobs in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected the report to show a gain of 210,000 jobs, according to CNBC. The unemployment rate fell 10 basis points to 6.2 percent in February.

The biggest employment spike was seen in leisure and hospitality, which increased by 355,000 as pandemic-related restrictions eased in some parts of the country thanks in part to the COVID-19 vaccine rollouts. States such as Texas and Mississippi are lifting all COVID-19 restrictions, including limits on capacity at buildings and facilities.

Despite the February surge, the leisure and hospitality sector is still 3.5 million short from its employment level in February 2020, the month before the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. The recent pickup in the sector caused the employment percentages to fall from 15.9 percent to 13.5 percent. The food services and accommodation subsector saw the jobless rate decrease from 15.3 percent to 12.7 percent.

Within the professional and business services category, temporary help services added 53,000 jobs in February but remain 175,000 shy from a year ago. Healthcare and retail also generated employment increases in February with gains of 46,000 and 41,000, respectively. Additionally, manufacturing saw a 21,000 increase in jobs during February.

Employment in local and state government education jobs saw a loss, with a total of 69,000 decrease in jobs. Construction and mining also had a hit, with a 61,000 decrease in construction jobs and 8,000 decrease in mining jobs.

Compared to a year ago, there are still 8.5 million less Americans with jobs in February, and the labor force participation rate is down 1.9 percentage points at 61.4 percent.

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