Employers added 175,000 jobs in February, better than the previous two months, according to new U.S. Labor Department figures.
Despite this the nation’s unemployment rate rose by 0.1 percentage point to 6.7% from a five-year low in January, as more people are attempting to reenter the workforce. Over the past year the number of unemployed has fallen by 1.6 million people, while the rate has fallen one percentage point.
In January 129,000 jobs were added while job additions totaled 84,000 in December, far short of what many analysts were expecting. February’s job additions was better than many analysts were forecasting, however, many also predicted the unemployment rate would also move lower.
For-hire trucking employment during February was unchanged from January’s level while the wider transportation and warehouse category saw the number of jobs drop by 3,600.
The number of for-hire trucking jobs added in January was revised downward to a gain of 2,600 from a first reported increase of 3,200. Compared to a year ago for-hire trucking has added 15,400 jobs compared to the same time a year ago.
The report follows a separate one, released two days earlier, showing private employers added 139,000 jobs from January to February.
“There was much anticipation earlier in the month, looking to February's report to be the proverbial tie breaker between the strength of October and November, and the weakness in December and January. But as cold winter weather carried through most of the month, we won't get a ‘clean’ data report now until March,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at the investment firm Sterne Agee.
“With that in mind, we are still not convinced that the slowdown in employment was entirely the work of Mother Nature. After all, the trend in employment had been declining months ahead of the winter weather,” she said.