February Nonfarm Payroll Report Crushes Analyst Expectations with 678,000 Jobs

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Despite a tight labor market, total nonfarm payroll employment rose by a surprisingly strong 678,000 in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday, March 4. This was well above the 440,000 jobs economists forecasted, Barron’s reported.

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In addition to big numbers, job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, health care, and construction.

In February, the unemployment rate edged down to 3.8%, and the number of unemployed persons edged down to 6.3 million, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

James Neave, head of data science at job search engine Adzuna, told GOBankingRates that moving for a better salary is becoming top of mind for many who are living in the current “inflation nation,” but notes that “although higher wages alone aren’t enough to keep workers from looking for new opportunities.”

“As the economy and job market bounce back, the changing work set-up along with a surge in demand for candidates has helped create a perfect storm for job seekers. With increased levels of burnout and dissatisfaction leading to declining levels of effort and performance among staff, employee engagement is critical,” Neave said.

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He added that employee quits won’t get better this year, and empowering people to choose when and where they work is critical to being able to stand out as an employer right now.

In February, employment in leisure and hospitality continued to increase, with a gain of 179,000 for the month. Professional and business services added 95,000 jobs, while employment in health care rose by 64,000 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition, the construction, transportation and warehousing, retail trade, manufacturing and financial activities sectors all saw growth in February.

Cody Harker, Senior Director of Insights & Strategy at Bayard, told GOBankingRates that today’s jobs report is showing we are still in a period of growth with many opportunities for job seekers looking to get involved in or return to the labor force.

See: Weekly Jobless Claims Lowest Since January, Department of Labor Reports
Find: February ADP National Employment Report Shows 475,000 New Private Sector Jobs

“In fact, last month at Bayard, we saw a 5% overall increase in click volume on job ads — signifying that there was higher job seeker intent than in previous years months,” Harker said. “Jobseekers seemed eager to take the next step in pursuing jobs on the heels of the Omicron variant peak. Whether this trend persists in March or beyond remains to be seen — we’re keen to continue to observe traffic trends over the upcoming weeks.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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