By Susan Jones, CNS News–
The number of employed Americans has now broken eight records, most recently in February, since President Donald Trump took office.
155,215,000 Americans were employed in February, 785,000 more than last month’s record 154,430,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.
The number of employed Black Americans hit a record high of 19,087,000 last month, and a record 72,530,000 women 16 and older were counted as employed.
The labor force participation rate increased three-tenths of a point, and the nation’s unemployment rate remained at a low 4.1 percent for a fifth straight month.
To put the unemployment rate in perspective, the last time we saw rates this low, Bill Clinton was president. In the final four months of 2000 — Clinton’s final full year in office — the unemployment rate was 3.9 percent, and it dipped to a Clinton-era low of 3.8 percent for one month only, in April 2000.
During Richard Nixon’s term, the unemployment rate dropped to 3.4 percent at various times in 1968 and 1969, the lowest it had been since 1953.
— The economy added a whopping 313,000 jobs in February. BLS said after revisions, job gains have averaged 242,000 over the last 3 months.
— Wages continue to rise: In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 4 cents to $26.75, following a 7-cent gain in January. Over the year, average hourly earnings have increased by 68 cents, or 2.6 percent.
— The number of Americans not in the labor force, meaning they are not working or looking for work, remained stubbornly high at 95,012,000. This group includes a growing number of retirees as well as people who are going to school or who choose not to work for other reasons.
In February, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 256,934,000. Of those, 161,921,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.
The 161,921,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 63.0 percent of the 256,934,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.
The labor force participation rate has been stuck at or near the 62-63 percent level for the past four years.
Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell told Congress last month that although the labor force participation rate has shown little movement, this is nevertheless a sign of job-market strength, “given that retiring baby-boomers are putting downward pressure on the participation rate.”
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for Blacks declined to 6.9 percent in February, close to the record low of 6.8 percent set in December 2017. The jobless rates for adult men (3.7 percent), adult women (3.8 percent), teenagers (14.4 percent), Whites (3.7 percent), Asians (2.9 percent), and Hispanics (4.9 percent) showed little change.