Washington D.C. – The U.S. economy added 242,000 jobs in February, according to a report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent. The number of unemployed persons, at 7.8 million, was unchanged. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 0.6 percentage point and 831,000, respectively.
Employment gains occurred in health care and social assistance, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and private educational services. Job losses continued in mining.
Health care and social assistance added 57,000 jobs in February. Health care employment increased by 38,000 over the month, with job gains in ambulatory health care services (+24,000) and hospitals (+11,000). Over the past 12 months, hospitals have added 181,000 jobs. In February, employment rose by 19,000 in social assistance, mostly in individual and family services (+14,000).
Retail trade continued to add jobs in February (+55,000). Employment rose in food and beverage stores (+15,000) and other general merchandise stores (+13,000). Retail trade has added 339,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Food services and drinking places added 40,000 jobs in February. Over the year, employment in the industry has grown by 359,000.
Employment in private educational services rose by 28,000 in February, after edging down by 20,000 in the prior month.
Construction employment continued to trend up in February (+19,000), with a gain of 14,000 in residential specialty trade contractors. Employment in construction was up by 253,000 over the past 12 months, with residential specialty trade contractors accounting for about half of the increase.
Employment in mining continued to decline in February (-19,000), with job losses in support activities for mining (-16,000) and coal mining (-2,000). Since a recent peak in September 2014, mining has shed 171,000 jobs, with more than three-fourths of the loss in support activities for mining.