The State Of U.S. Jobs: February 2014 Update

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The State Of U.S. Jobs: February 2014 Update article first appeared on Floating Path.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that 175k nonfarm payrolls were added during the month of February. This follows revised payrolls gains of 129k in January and 84k in December. Generally, a terrible last 3 months for jobs growth.

Industry spread was good but not great. The Professional Services sector was responsible for the bulk of the jobs gains, increasing by 79k.

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The U-3 unemployment rate increased to 6.7% from 6.6%, while the broader U-6 unemployment rate fell to 12.6% from 12.7%.

The labor force participation rate and employment-population ratio were both unchanged at 63.0% and 58.8%, respectively.

For all private sector production and nonsupervisory employees, weekly hours worked declined to 33.3 from 33.5 while the average hourly wage increased to $20.50 from $20.41.

The average duration of unemployment increased to 37.1 weeks from 35.4 weeks. This is one of the more important indicators from each report that never gets enough attention. The distribution of unemployed by duration chart below gives us some insight into how difficult it is for people to find work, but the average duration of unemployment figure better captures the woes of the very long-term unemployed, who will continue to have the hardest time finding work.

This was yet another predictable and sluggish employment report. Consensus seems to suggest though that this or other weak reports will not deter the Federal Reserve from continuing to wind down its quantitative easing program.