U.S. Economy Added 311,000 Jobs In February, Unemployment Rate Ticks Up To 3.6%

The U.S. economy continued to add a robust number of jobs in February, with gains of 311,000, while the unemployment rate ticked up to 3.6%.

The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics come as the Federal Reserve is looking for signs that the economy is slowing and its aggressive rate hikes are working. The job gains slowed from January, but they still were higher than expected.

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The unemployment rate is still very low, reflecting a large number of job vacancies.

The largest gains were in leisure and hospitality, retail, government and health care. Information industries and transportation and warehousing saw declines.

The latest report also reflected some of the headlines over job cutbacks in entertainment, media and tech. Jobs in motion picture and sound recording industries dropped by 9,000, and there was a decline of 3,000 in the telecommunications sector. Overall, jobs in the information sector dropped by 54,000 since November, the BLS said.

January’s job report showed blockbuster job gains of 517,000, leading some economists to wonder if it was an anomaly or if the data would be revised. The BLS did make a revision, but dropped its estimate by only 13,000 jobs.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moodys Analytics, wrote on Twitter that the latest jobs report “was all-in-all a good one. Yes, the 311k job gain is still too strong, but hours worked declined, and labor supply is also strong, thus the increase in labor force participation and the unemployment rate. And wage growth is moderating.”

Other sectors of media and entertainment also saw job declines. Publishing employment fell by 5,100 to 941,400, and jobs in broadcasting and other content providers dropped by 2,900 to 354,500.

More to come.

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