159171378Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 6.7 percent nationally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this week.

Employment increased in professional and business services and in wholesale trade but declined in information.

Severe winter weather occurred in much of the country during the February reference periods. Unusually severe weather is more likely to impact average weekly hours than employment. Average weekly hours are estimated for paid time during the pay period, including pay for holidays, sick leave or other time off.

The impact of severe weather on hours estimates typically, but not always, results in a reduction in average weekly hours. For example, some employees may be off work for part of the pay period and not receive pay for the time missed, while some workers, such as those dealing with cleanup or repair, may work extra hours. In order for severe weather conditions to reduce the estimate of payroll employment, employees have to be off work without pay for the entire pay period.

Both the number of unemployed persons (10.5 million) and the unemployment rate (6.7 percent) changed little in February. The jobless rate has shown little movement since December. Over the year, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.6 million and 1 percentage point, respectively.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (6.4 percent), adult women (5.9 percent), teenagers (21.4 percent), whites (5.8 percent), blacks (12 percent), and Hispanics (8.1 percent) showed little or no change in February. The jobless rate for Asians was 6 percent and unchanged over the year.

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The number of long-term unemployed —those jobless for 27 weeks or more — increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million; these individuals accounted for 37 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 901,000 over the year.

Both the civilian labor force participation rate (63 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.8 percent) were unchanged in February. The labor force participation rate was down 0.5 percentage point from a year ago, while the employment population ratio was little changed over the year.

The number of persons employed part-time for economic reasons —sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers — was little changed at 7.2 million in February. These individuals were working part-time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work. In February, 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, a decline of 285,000 over the year. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 755,000 discouraged workers in February, down by 130,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 175,000 in February.

Job growth averaged 189,000 per month over the prior 12 months.

In February, job gains occurred in professional and business services and in wholesale trade, while information lost jobs. Employment in professional and business services increased by 79,000 in February.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents to $24.31. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 52 cents, or 2.2 percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 9 cents to $20.50. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +75,000 to +84,000, and the change for January was revised from +113,000 to +129,000. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January were 25,000 higher than previously reported.