US Jobless Rate Falls More than Expected


The US unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent in February 2019 from 4 percent in the previous month and below market expectations of 3.9 percent. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 300,000 to 6.2 million.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs (including people on temporary layoff) declined by 225,000. This decline reflects, in part, the return of federal workers who were furloughed in January due to the partial government shutdown.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.5 percent), Whites (3.3 percent), and Hispanics (4.3 percent) decreased in February. The jobless rates for adult women (3.4 percent), teenagers (13.4 percent), Blacks (7.0 percent), and Asians (3.1 percent) showed little or no change over the month.

In February, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.3 million and accounted for 20.4 percent of the unemployed.

The labor force participation rate held at 63.2 percent in February and has changed little over the year. The employment-population ratio, at 60.7 percent, was unchanged over the month but was up by 0.3 percentage point over the year.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) decreased by 837,000 to 4.3 million in February. This decline follows a sharp increase in January that may have resulted from the partial federal government shutdown. (Persons employed part time for economic reasons would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been reduced or they were unable to find full-time jobs.)

There were 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force, a decrease of 178,000 from a year earlier. (Data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the last 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Among the marginally attached, there were 428,000 discouraged workers in February, little changed from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.0 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

US Jobless Rate Falls More than Expected


BLS | Joana Ferreira | joana.ferreira@tradingeconomics.com
3/8/2019 1:48:21 PM