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242K New Jobs Is Good News For The Slow Economic Recovery

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The U.S. economy is continuing its slow but positive recovery by adding 242,000 new jobs during the month of February, according to a federal jobs report released Friday.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks a multitude of economic trends, including job growth, on a monthly basis. Its latest jobs report showed the economy picked up 242,000 new jobs, while unemployment remained unchanged at roughly 5 percent. The latest number highlights a long-running trend of slow, yet positive, economic growth.

“Employment increased by 242,000 in February,” the report detailed. “And the number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, was unchanged. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.6 percentage point and 831,000, respectively.”

Health care and social assistance, retail trade, food services and private educational services saw the most significant increases in new jobs during the month. Employment in manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, financial activities, professional and business services and government all showed little change.

“Health care and social assistance added 57,000 jobs in February,” the report continued. “Since a recent peak in September 2014, mining has shed 171,000 jobs, with more than three-fourths of the loss in support activities for mining.”

The civilian labor force participation rate increased slightly to 62.9 percent. The participation rate tracks the number of employed as a percentage of the population — unlike the unemployment rate, it tracks those people who are no longer seeking work. The participation rate stalled in recent months, so the slight increase could be a good indication of positive growth.

Average wages also increased in the month of February after taking a slight dip the month before. Increased wages could be caused by a multitude of factors but most often indicate positive economic trends.

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