Employers added 379,000 new jobs to the economy in February 2021, per the latest report from the U.S. Department of Labor.
According to the Labor Department, most of the job gains were in the leisure and hospitality sectors. There were smaller gains in the temporary help services, health care, social assistance, retail trade and manufacturing industries, while the state and local government education, construction and mining saw employment declines.
The leisure and hospitality sector added 355,000 jobs, with the Labor Department attributing the increase to the easing of COVID-related restrictions in parts of the United States. Most of these jobs – 286,000 – were in the food services sector, while accommodation accounted for 36,000 and amusements, gambling and recreation accounted for 33,000 jobs.
Temporary help services contributed 53,000 new jobs to the February total, and health and social assistance added 46,000. Retail trade was close behind with 41,000 new jobs, while manufacturing added 21,000 new jobs.
However, local government education and state government education jobs dropped by 37,000 and 32,000, respectively. Construction had a loss of 61,000 jobs, and mining jobs dropped by 8,000.
Compared to February 2020, the 2021 unemployment figures are down 9.5 million, or 6.2 percent.
The gains in February far outnumbered the gains in January, when the number of U.S. jobs rose by 49,000. However, the unemployment rate remained roughly on par in February. The Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in February, a decrease of 0.1 percent from January’s 6.3 percent.
In February, the total number of unemployed individuals was 10 million, a significant increase over the pre-pandemic February 2020 numbers. At that point, unemployment was at 3.5 percent and there were 5.7 million unemployed individuals.
Temporary layoff numbers declined by 517,000 in February, falling to 2.2 million, while the number of permanent job losers sat at 3.5 million. Long-term unemployed numbers, or individuals unemployed for 27 weeks or more, was 4.1 million in February.
Labor force participation was at 61.4 percent for February 2021.