February Job Market Updates: Shaker’s Take

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Health Care Job Growth Leads the Way in February BLS Report

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 273,000 nonfarm jobs were created in February. The U.S. economy has increased by an average of 243,000 jobs a month from December through February, up from an average monthly job growth of 178,000 in 2019. The January report was revised upward from the previously reported 225,00 to 273,000 and the December report was revised by 37,000 to 184,000.

Looking at the February numbers in detail by industry, employment in health care and social assistance increased by 57,000. Health care added 32,000 jobs, with increases in physician offices (+10,000), home health care services (+10,000), and hospitals (+8,000). Employment in social assistance was up by 25,000, with most of the increase for individual and family services (+18,000). Over the past 12 months, employment was up by 368,000 in health care and up by 191,000 in social assistance.

Hospitality (food services and drinking places) added 53,000 jobs in February. Over the past seven months, this sector has seen growth of 252,000 after decreases in job growth earlier in 2019.

Government employment increased by 45,000, with a gain in state government education (+16,000). The federal employment was up by 8,000, due in part to the hiring of 7,000 temporary workers for the 2020 Census.

Construction added 42,000 jobs, following a gain of 49,000 in January. In 2019, job gains in this sector averaged 13,000 per month. In February, job increases were significant for specialty trade contractors (+26,000) and residential building (+10,000).

Employment in professional and technical services was up by 32,000. Increases were seen in architectural and engineering services (+10,000) and in scientific research and development services (+5,000). Employment continues to be increasing in computer systems design and related services (+8,000). Over the past 12 months, there have been 285,000 new jobs in the professional and technical services sector.

Financial services were up by 26,000, with increases in real estate (+8,000) and in credit intermediation and related activities (+6,000). Over the past 12 months, financial services have seen an increase of 160,000 new jobs.

Manufacturing added jobs for the first time in three months with a gain of 15,000 jobs.

Retail saw a loss of 7,000 jobs in February after a decrease of 5,800 from January.

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Mike Temkin

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