Nonfarm payrolls in the United States grew by 379,000 in February to bring the unemployment rate down to 6.2%, the Labor Department reported.
- The latest readings compare with market expectations of 210,000 new jobs and unemployment rate of 6.3%.
- The number of employed Americans fell 8.5 million from a year ago. The labor force increased by 50,000 but the participation rate was at 61.4%, down 1.9 percentage points from a year ago.
- Most of the gains came from the leisure and hospitality sector which grew 355,000 as lockdown restrictions were eased. Bars and restaurant jobs grew 286,000; hotel-related 36,000; and amusement, gambling, and recreation 33,000.
- The industry is still 3.5 million short of its pre-pandemic level a year ago. Unemployment rate for the sector at 13.5% versus 15.9% the previous month.
- January hiring was revised higher to 166,000 from 49,000; December’s count lowered to a 306,000 drop from a 227,000 loss previously.
- Declines were seen in local and state government education jobs which fell 69,000; construction dropped 61,000; and mining declined 8,000.