US Economy Adds 311,000 Jobs in February; Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.6%

According to the Labor Department's closely watched monthly employment snapshot, released on Friday, the US economy gained 311,000 jobs in February.[0] The unemployment rate rose to 3.6 percent, above the expectation for 3.4 percent, amid a tick higher in the labor force participation rate to 62.5 percent, its highest level since March 2020.[1] The Bureau of Labor Statistics' survey of households, used to calculate the unemployment rate, revealed a 177,000 decrease.[2] A more encompassing unemployment measure that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons rose to 6.8 percent, an increase of 0.2 percentage point.[2]

Average hourly earnings — a closely watched metric as the Fed seeks to evaluate the impact of rising wages on inflation — grew 0.2 percent month-on-month and were up 4.6 percent over the year before.[3] That was below the estimate for 4.7 percent.[4]

Leading the way in payroll growth among major industries was leisure and hospitality, adding 105,000 jobs.[5] In February, two major industries, information and transportation & warehousing, experienced a decrease.[5] An additional 46,000 jobs were added by the government, and professional and business services experienced a rise of 45,000.[6]

Analysts at Commerzbank are bullish on the US labor market and expect another solid jobs report.[7] Economists on Wall Street are forecasting that the February jobs report will show a gain of 220,000 new jobs.[8] Despite the 517,000 jobs gained in January, the economy would still have added over 300,000 jobs in the first two months of the year if a significant decrease of 100,000 new jobs were to occur – which is far too strong for the Federal Reserve.[8]

The jobs report makes it likely that the Fed will go through with raising interest rates when they gather again March 21-22.[9] But traders priced in less of a chance that the central bank will accelerate to a 0.5 percentage point increase, dropping the likelihood to 48.4 percent, or about a coin flip, according to a CME Group estimate.[2]

A 517,000 jobs increase in the economy was noted in January's surprisingly positive jobs report, which follows this current one.[10] The January numbers were revised down but only slightly to 504,000 jobs.[11] Revisions to payroll growth in October and November showed a decrease of 34,000 jobs when compared to the December data.[12]

0. “February jobs report: U.S. economy added 311,000 jobs” Axios, 10 Mar. 2023,

1. “Another strong jobs report complicates the inflation outlook” The Boston Globe, 10 Mar. 2023,

2. “Payrolls rose 311,000 in February, more than expected, showing solid growth” CNBC, 10 Mar. 2023,

3. “The US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, outpacing expectations” CNN, 10 Mar. 2023,

4. “US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, exceeding expectations” NBC News, 10 Mar. 2023,

5. “The US added 311,000 jobs in February, unemployment rate at 3.6%” Business Insider, 10 Mar. 2023,

6. “US hiring boom continued in February with 311000 added jobs” The Guardian, 10 Mar. 2023,

7. “Nonfarm Payrolls hike by 311,000 in February vs. 205,000 expected” FXStreet, 10 Mar. 2023,

8. “Why Friday's Jobs Report Won't Save The S&P 500 From Fed Hawks” Investor's Business Daily, 9 Mar. 2023,

9. “February's Jobs Report Brings More Confusing Economic News” TIME, 10 Mar. 2023,

10. “Economy adds 311K jobs in February, unemployment rises to 3.6 percent” The Hill, 10 Mar. 2023,

11. “Gold price gains as U.S. jobs number beats expectations in February, but unemployment rate climbs” Kitco NEWS, 10 Mar. 2023,

12. “Jobs Report: Soft Wage Growth Offsets Strong Hiring” Investor's Business Daily, 10 Mar. 2023,

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