Jobs Report: Employers Surprise Economists
The labor market bounced back from a momentary pause, providing evidence that global economic woes and market volatility weren’t big enough deterrents for businesses to add workers. Employers added 242,000 jobs in February, though the unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent, according to the Labor Department.
The sharp rise in employment was offset by a similar-sized increase in the labor force (those working and looking for jobs). The Labor report tracked 230,000 jobs added in the health care, retail and restaurant sectors. Federal, state and local governments added another 12,000 positions.
The broader measure of joblessness — part-time employees who prefer full-time jobs, and discouraged workers who have given up looking, as well as the unemployed — fell from 9.9 percent to 9.7 percent.