As announced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday (link to the report provided above), unemployment rose by 0.1% to 6.7%, reflecting a gain in the employment level (household survey) of only 42,000 while the labor force grew by 264,000. This leaves per capita employment essentially unchanged in February at 45.7%. That figure is almost 3% lower than in 2007, meaning that nearly 10 million workers remain unemployed.
Wall Street drew some comfort from the fact that the number of jobs created – 175,000 (according to the establishment survey) – exceeded expectations reduced by the bad weather in February, but the numbers are weak nonetheless. Other indications of a weak job market included:
- the number of long-term unemployed increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million,
- the employment-to-population ratio hasn’t improved in the past year,
- the number of people working part-time because they can’t find full-time employment remains at 7.2 million workers,
- manufacturing added no new jobs in February,
- the average work week dropped by 0.1 hours, and
- factory overtime also declined by 0.1 hours while the average factory work week remained unchanged.
It’s yet another corroboration of the “new normal,” chronically-high unemployment economy that dumb trade policy and a growing population have given us.