By: Kellie Lail

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its February 2023 Report, so let’s take a look at how employment fared over the last month.

The great news is: 

In February, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 311,000 people. The unemployment rate in February increased to 3.6%, remaining in the narrow window of 3.5%-3.7% since March of 2022. Leisure and hospitality, retail trades, government, and health care garnered the largest share of new jobs over the last month.

The good news is: 

The number of people not in the labor force who do currently want a job decreased to 5.1 million in February, meeting the pre-pandemic, February 2020 level of 5.1 million people. Keep in mind, these 5.1 million people were not counted as unemployed because they were unavailable to take a job or were not actively looking for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. The number of people jobless for less than 5 weeks increased by 343,000 to 2.3 million in February after showing a decrease in January. In February, average hourly earnings for private non-farm payroll jobs increased by 0.2%, or 8 cents, to $33.09. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.6%. The average work week for these employees also edged down by 0.1 hours to an average work week of 34.5 hours in February.

The bad news is: 

The number of unemployed persons increased slightly to 5.9 million people in February from 5.7 million people in January. The number of long-term unemployed, people who were without a job for 27 weeks or more, was essentially unchanged from January, remaining at 1.1 million for the second month in a row and accounting for 17.6% of all unemployed persons. The number of discouraged workers who believed there were no jobs available to them remained little changed from January at 363,000 people, an increase of 21,000 people.

Keep in mind: With the number of unemployed persons remaining relatively steady over recent months, competition in the job market continues to build. To attract the best candidates that are looking to work in your industry, you must show them that you are the most competitive employer in terms of salary, benefits, career stability, remote or flexibility options, and career growth opportunities.

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