February’s 175,000 Paints an Optimistic Picture
According to the March jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 175,000 jobs were added last month. These numbers came as a surprise to economists, as the projected job numbers were roughly 25,000 lower for the month of February due to the very slow growth in the months of December (75K) and January (113K).
The unemployment rate remains virtually unchanged at just 6.7 percent. This is because many economists agreed that job creation should be more consistent month over month in order to lower the national unemployment rate.
Financial Activities and Temporary Help Continue to Stay Strong
For the first month since November 2013, the United States’ private sector generated over 150,000 jobs in February. Although the sector’s total job creation – 162,000 – was not nearly high enough to significantly lower the national unemployment rate, a majority of economists were encouraged by the figures.
After reporting a loss of 2,000 jobs in January, financial sector hiring rebounded last month, rising by 9,000. A majority of the jobs were generated by insurance carriers, which added 9,900 new positions to the national economy. Since February 2013, total sector employment has increased by 61,000.
Another steady employer, the temporary help services sector reported its 13th consecutive month of job creation in February, as total employment augmented by 24,400. Since February 2013, 18,975 new jobs, on average, have been generated within the sector on a monthly basis.
Will hiring numbers warm up with temperatures?
A majority of economists believe the nation’s recent deceleration in hiring is a direct result of this winter’s snowfall and record-breaking low temperatures, which influenced employers throughout most regions of the United States. In February alone, 6.9 million full-time workers’ hours were lowered temporarily due to bad weather, according to the Labor Department.
Winter weather severely affected the employment numbers again this past month – once again, affecting a large portion of the U.S. When the snow disappears, will employers warm up to hiring as temperatures rise? Will employee hours increase? Will new positions be created? Only time will tell, but economists are watching and waiting for the report’s release in April.
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