February BLS Report Surprises, Adds 175,000 Jobs to Economy

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Source: BLS

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February 2014 unemployment report which shows an overall gain of 175,000 jobs and the unemployment rate inching backup to 6.7%. This data surprised most experts, who forecasted around 150,000 jobs being added.  In addition, revisions to prior months showed that December 2013 added 84,000 jobs — up from 75,000 — and January grew 129,000 jobs — up from 113,000.

Prior to December 2013 the U.S. added on average 205,000 jobs per month, but has now dropped to an average of 129,000 jobs per month. Many blame this swing in job growth on the bad weather across most of the country — something that has historically stumped job creation. In addition, snow and ice has been known to force layoffs and delays in beginning new projects across multiple industries. While we will have to wait to see if future data supports this theory, it is possible that a “rebound” will occur and a surge in hiring will take place. With poor winter weather (hopefully) winding down, we might be able to measure this theory sooner rather than later.

A number of sectors showed impressive growth in February, including construction (+15,000), leisure and hospitality (+25,000), and education and health services (+33,000). The professional and business services sector had the largest gain of the month (+79,000), with numerous sub-sectors including accounting (+15,700), services to buildings and dwellings (+11,400), architecture and engineering (+3,200), IT consulting and design (+10,300) and temporary services (+24,400) adding jobs as well.

So, what does this stronger report mean? While economists were pleasantly surprised by higher than expected numbers, this data is still significantly shy of last year’s annual average. Many experts agree that a slow and steady recovery is still on course, and are predicting that come spring, employment figures will be back in the 185,000-205,000 jobs added range.

At Adecco, many of our clients closed out 2013 strong and are optimistic about 2014 with hiring and staff augmentation plans in place. Interested in learning more about how our staffing solutions can help in this job market? Contact us now! 

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