Unemployment Rate Falls to Four-Year Low

Washington — March 8

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February and the unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent, the Labor Department said Friday. Employment increased in professional and business services, construction and health care.

The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent in February but has shown little movement, on net, since September 2012. The number of unemployed persons, at 12 million, also edged lower in February.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites (6.8 percent) declined in February, while the rates for adult men (7.1 percent), adult women (7 percent), teenagers (25.1 percent), blacks (13.8 percent) and Hispanics (9.6 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.

In February, the number of long-term unemployed — those jobless for 27 weeks or more — was generally unchanged at 4.8 million. These individuals accounted for 40.2 percent of the unemployed.

The employment-population ratio held at 58.6 percent in February. The civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.5 percent, changed little.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 8 million, was essentially unchanged in February. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In February, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, the same as a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 885,000 discouraged workers in February, down slightly from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

The remaining 1.7 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics