As anticipated, the national unemployment rate fell from 4.8 % to 4.7 % over last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Approximately 235,000 new jobs were created in February, adding to the national economy. This development follows a long-term trend, with the U.S. economy having grown for 94 straight months. This is the third-longest recorded growth for the U.S. economy and it is good news for all job seekers.
Unemployment rates, source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
This latest government unemployment data was released last Friday, on March 9, 2017. Growth was especially notable in construction, private education services (29,000 new jobs), manufacturing (28,000 new jobs), health care (27,000 new jobs), and mining (20,000 news jobs since October 2016). This was also due to unusually warm weather during the previous month when about 58,000 new jobs were created in construction. In this case, the workers were able to work in February. Additionally, hourly wages rose by 6 cents since February. This represents an improved by 2.8 percent since last year.
To put this in perspective, since the last recession in 2010, about 16 million jobs were created. Historically, the all time highest unemployment rate of 10.8 % was reached in November of 1982 and the lowest rate of 2.5 was recorded in May of 1953. That makes the average unemployment rate between 1948 and 2017 5.81 %. In February 2017, there were 7.5 million unemployed people and the labor force participation rate was 63 percent.
The unemployment numbers are below the critical level. With the unemployment rate being at 4.7 %, there was only a little change compared to the previous month. However, this number is lower than a year ago. For scientists, statisticians or economists, the unemployment rate is a good indicator for the beginning and the end of recession. The good news is, according to this unemployment rate model, it does not predict recession anytime soon. This model, updated with new data in March 2017, relies on four indicators, all related to the short- or long term unemployment rate.
Future changes and expectations
Because the Federal Reserve expects further U.S. economic gains, the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee has increased the interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point. The Committee also aims to raise interest rates two more times before the end of the year. Factors, such as consumer confidence and a business friendly environment under the new administration, as well as solid U.S. stock markets, predict that for the near future the U.S. economy will continue to grow. In making this decision, they will took into consideration inflation and other factors. This move, however, will make loans more expensive for businesses and consumers.
Additionally, the predictions for the IT, cybersecurity or engineering fields look especially promising. For further information, see previous articles on the future of IT jobs, engineering jobs, or cybersecurity jobs. The demand for skilled experts is and will continue to be high.
The full report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the employment situation can be found here.