A new employment report on Friday showed U.S. payroll gains added 242,000 positions last month! This well above analysts’ expectations and generally in line with the job growth seen in the last few months of 2015, according to a report released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
What’s more, January’s disappointing 151,000 additions were revised up on Friday to 172,000. December’s final reading, likewise, was bumped up from 262,000 to 271,000. That means roughly 30,000 positions were added to the labor market that previously went unreported.
“Health care employment increased by 38,000 over the month, with job gains in ambulatory health care services (+24,000) and hospitals (+11,000),” the report said, highlighting one of the job market’s strongest and most consistent sectors for expansion. “Over the past 12 months, hospitals have added 181,000 jobs.”
Other sectors of note include retail, which tacked on 55,000 positions last month and 339,000 over the year and construction, which generated 19,000 new positions in February and 253,000 over the last 12 months.
The national unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent for a second consecutive month, and America’s labor force participation rate – which measures the share of Americans at least 16 years old who are either employed or actively looking for work – climbed to 62.9 percent. That rate fell through much of 2015 and has been on a general decline since early 2000, but February’s participation rate ticked up to its highest level in more than a year.
Good news all around, let’s hope the rest of 2016 can maintain these numbers!