Unemployment Edges Up In February
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported that the unemployment rate for February 2006 rose to 4.8% after several months of trending downward. Economists view the slight increase as evidence of more entrants into the job market who may previously have not been actively seeking employment. Additionally, the increased rate remains significantly lower than the 5.4% unemployment rate of February, 2005.
Nonfarm payroll rose by 243,000 in February to a total of 134.8 million. Construction employment increased by 41,000 during the month after gaining 55,000 jobs in January. Manufacturing employment, on the other hand, remained virtually unchanged and 8,000 jobs have been lost during the course of the year.
In the services sector, education and health services rose by 47,000 during the month of February. Financial employment increased by 22,000, roughly equivalent to the gain of the previous month. Finally, professional and business services employment rose by 39,000 and the industry as a whole has added 466,000 over the past 12 months.