Brr… While much of the country continues to trudge through record-breaking (and unwelcome) amounts of snow and ice, the U.S. economy appears to be thawing — at least a little. This is evidenced by some positive news coming out of the February 2014 jobs report released this morning by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As you may know, following each month’s jobs report, we read dozens of news reports, scour the Web, and break what we find down to three key talking points you can use. Whether you’re taking a break at the office water cooler or conversing with peers in the industry, you’ll have three conversation starters in your pocket.
HERE’S THE NEWS YOU CAN USE FROM TODAY’S RELEASE:
- Better, but not good. February’s jobs numbers exceeded economists’ expectations (it’s been a while since that happened, eh?). The U.S. economy added 175,000 jobs in February, quite a bit higher than the 150,000 jobs economists were expecting. If you’re the type of person who looks at the glass as half full, you’ll notice that job growth has picked up compared to the past two months. It’s still hard to ignore the fact that this pales in comparison with 200,000, the average pace of jobs added between June and November 2013. Also, the unemployment rate ticked up ever so slightly from 6.6 percent to 6.7 percent.
- Wintry weather woes? The big question leading up to the February jobs report was whether wintry conditions would drastically impede hiring. Turns out, it was not as huge a deterrent as some expected, but it still did impact the job market. As many as 6.9 million full-time workers saw their hours being temporarily reduced citing the bad weather as the culprit — the last time it was this bad was back in January 1996.
- These industries get a gold star. The big winner was professional and business services, adding 79,000 — this included 16,000 new positions in accounting and bookkeeping. Other industries that deserve special mention include construction and food services. The construction industry added 15,000 jobs — not that this is a huge improvement from the past, but it’s positive if you take wintry conditions into the equation. Restaurants and bars also fared well, adding 21,000 jobs — because who doesn’t like to eat, amiright?
In case you’re looking for handy, easily digestible charts from the just-released jobs report, Quartz has some with highlights.