Highlights of the February Jobs Report:
- Leisure and hospitality added 355,000 jobs in February, signaling a strong desire on the part of the public to spend money on accommodations, transport, meals and beverages.
- There were smaller gains in temporary help services, health care and social assistance, retail trade, and manufacturing.
- Following steep job losses in March and April of 2020 (-2.4 million jobs over the 2 months combined), retail trade has added 2.0 million jobs from May through February.
With the coronavirus pandemic absolutely battering sectors like hospitality since this time last year, these robust economic indicators are sparking optimism among analyst that economic recovery may be with us sooner than expected.
The United States and the rest of the world are currently seeing a decline in coronavirus cases, and some states and localities are easing restrictions related to the pandemic. The pace of vaccinations is picking up steam in the US, the United Kingdom and much of the rest of the world. Accordingly, vaccinated individuals are looking forward to spending money on travel, leisure and restaurants.
The pace of the economic recovery remains to be seen, but this report offers encouraging signs for those in key economic sectors.
Other highlights from the jobs report:
- Growth overall: Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 379,000 in February but is down by 9.5 million, or 6.2 percent, from its pre-pandemic level in February 2020.
- Leisure and hospitality: employment in this sector increased by 355,000, amid easing of pandemic-related. Four-fifths of the increase was in food services and drinking places (+286,000). Employment also rose in accommodation (+36,000) and in amusements, gambling, and recreation (+33,000). Employment in leisure and hospitality is down over the year by 3.5 million, or 20.4 percent.
- Professional and business services: good news here in regards to temporary help services, where 53,000 jobs were added.
- Health care and social assistance: employment increased by 46,000 in February. Health care employment was little changed over the month (+20,000), following a large decline in the prior month (-85,000). In February, job gains in ambulatory health care services (+29,000) were partially offset by losses in nursing care facilities (-12,000).
- Retail trade: added 41,000 jobs in February. Job growth was widespread in the industry, with the largest gains occurring in general merchandise stores (+14,000), health and personal care stores (+12,000), and food and beverage stores (+10,000). These gains were partially offset by a loss in clothing and clothing accessories stores (-20,000).
- Manufacturing: employment increased by 21,000 over the month, led by a gain in transportation equipment (+10,000). Employment in manufacturing is down by 561,000 over the year.