Unemployment Rate Stands at 3.6 Percent as Uncertainty Looms

March 10, 2023 – Employment rose by 311,000 in February as the U.S. unemployment rate stands at 3.6 percent, according to today’s U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report. The number of unemployed persons also decreased to 5.9 million in February. Notable job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, retail trade, government, and health care. Employment declined in information and in transportation and warehousing.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Hispanics (5.3 percent) increased in February. The unemployment rates for adult men (3.3 percent), adult women (3.2 percent), teenagers (11.1 percent), Whites (3.2 percent), Blacks (5.7 percent), and Asians (3.4 percent) changed little over the month.

The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs increased by 223,000 in February to 2.8 million. The number of persons jobless less than five weeks increased by 343,000 to 2.3 million in February, offsetting a decrease in the prior month. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 1.1 million, changed little in February and accounted for 17.6 percent of the total unemployed.

Where Job Growth Occurred

• Leisure and hospitality added 105,000 jobs in February, similar to the average monthly gain of 91,000 over the prior six months. Food services and drinking places added 70,000 jobs in February, and employment continued to trend up in accommodation (+14,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality is below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 410,000, or 2.4 percent.

• Employment in retail trade rose by 50,000 in February, reflecting a gain in general merchandise retailers (+39,000). Retail trade employment is little changed on net over the year.

• Government employment increased by 46,000 in February, about the same as the average monthly gain of 44,000 over the prior six months. Employment in local government continued to trend up in February (+37,000). Overall, employment in government is below its pre-pandemic February 2020 level by 376,000, or 1.6 percent.

• Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in February (+45,000), with a gain of 12,000 in management, scientific, and technical consulting services. Employment in professional and business services had increased by an average of 35,000 per month over the prior six months.

Executive Hiring Predictions for 2023
With market uncertainty on the minds of senior executives as we move into the new year, ON Partners recently asked its consultants to offer predictions and insights about the executive jobs they expect to be in demand in 2023. The past few years have seen one of the most volatile business environments in memory. Political, social, economic, health, and regulatory factors combined to form the perfect storm, creating a turbulent path for boards and those in the C-suite to navigate. According to ON consultants, embracing transformation in an uncertain landscape, continued digital transformation efforts, and building strong financial organizations are among the key factors expected to drive executive hiring in the coming year.

• Healthcare added 44,000 jobs in February, compared with the average monthly increase of 54,000 over the prior six months. In February, job growth occurred in hospitals (+19,000) and in nursing and residential care facilities (+14,000).

• Construction employment grew by 24,000 in February, in line with the average monthly growth of 20,000 over the prior six months.

• Employment in social assistance rose by 19,000 in February, similar to the average monthly gain of 22,000 over the prior six months.

• In February, the information industry lost 25,000 jobs. Employment continued to trend down in motion picture and sound recording industries (-9,000) and in telecommunications (-3,000). Employment in information has decreased by 54,000 since November 2022.

• Transportation and warehousing lost 22,000 jobs in February, including 9,000 in truck transportation. Employment in transportation and warehousing is down by 42,000 since October 2022.

• Employment showed little change over the month in other major industries, including mining, quarrying, and oil and gas extraction; manufacturing; wholesale trade; financial activities; and other services.

Related: Talent Shortages Reach Highest Levels in 16 Years 

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media


Share This Article


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments