Mar 10, 2017

Putting U.S. Employment Numbers in Context – February 2017

Post by Freedom Partners

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the unemployment rate for February 2017 was 4.7 percent and that the economy added 235,000 jobs.

Today marks the second jobs report for 2017 and the first full monthly report for the Trump administration.

So far, the economy has added nearly a half million jobs during the first two months of 2017, the best two month gain since this past summer. While this report shows promising improvements, millions of Americans continue to struggle to find work.

Below is a deeper look at the numbers from today’s report and what they say about the state of the U.S. economy and labor market.

Unemployment by the Numbers

4.7%: The unemployment rate decreased to 4.7 percent during February, down from 4.8 percent in January 2016.

7,528,000: The total number of unemployed individuals during February was 7.5 million, down from 7.6 million in January.

235,000: The economy added 235,000 jobs during February, down from 238,000 jobs added during January. The number of jobs added during January was revised up from the 227,000 reported last month.

14,955,000: The total number of individuals “underemployed” was nearly 15 million during February 2017. This includes those individuals who are unemployed (7.5 million), those who want a job but are no longer looking for work (1.7 million) and those individuals who are working part-time because no other work was available (5.7 million).

9.2%: The “underemployment” or “real unemployment” rate was 9.2 percent during February 2017. Real unemployment decreased 0.2 percentage points from January 2017.

8.1%: The African American unemployment rate increased to 8.1 percent last month, up from 7.7 percent during January.

5.9%: The Hispanic unemployment rate decreased to 5.6 percent during February 2017.

340,000: The civilian labor force increased by 340,000 during February 2017.

63%: The Labor Force Participation Rate was 63 percent during February 2017.

1,801,000: The number of individuals unemployed for longer than 27 weeks was nearly 2 million during February. The total number of long-term unemployed decreased 49,000, or 3 percent from January 2017.

5,704,000: The number of individuals forced to work part time because no full-time work was available was 5.7 million during February, down from 5.8 million from January.

1,723,000: The number of individuals who attempted to look for a job at some point in the last year but have given up their search was 1.7 million during February 2017.

773,000: There were 773,000 unemployed first-time job entrants during February 2017. These individuals entered the labor market for the first time and were unable to find work.

25 Weeks: The average number of weeks it took job seekers to find work stayed the same at 25 weeks in February.

7.4%: The millennial unemployment rate (18-29) decreased to 7.4 percent in February. When adjusting for pre-recession 2007 labor force participation rates, this figure increases to 11.1 percent.