February did not see anywhere near the growth that January did, with the numbers coming in at 311,000 new Nonfarm payrolls. Unemployment rose slightly to 5.9 million, rising up to 3.6% from the previous month. Transportation and Warehouse lost almost all of the 23,000 openings gained in January, to the tune of 22,000 in February. As the Federal Reserve continues to try and mitigate these inflationary trends with increases to the interest rates, wage increases are still causing concerns that a recession could possibly occur.
January's Job Opening and Turnover Survey
At the end of January, job openings decreased slightly to 10.8 million, and hires marginally increased to 6.4 million, from the 6.2 million in December. The quit rate fell minimally again to 3.9 million, and layoffs and discharges increased to 1.7 million.
Several sectors saw a decrease in job openings. The largest decreases in job openings were in Construction (with 240,000 jobs lost), Accommodation and Food Services (204,000 jobs lost), and Finance and Insurance (100,000 jobs lost). Meanwhile, in January, Nondurable Goods Manufacturing saw an increase of 50,000 job openings.
While there was a small decrease in the number of quits (3.9 million) and a small increase in layoffs/discharges (1.7 million), the numbers for January are setting the stage for what we saw coming through in the February report.
February's Jobs Report
Non-farm payroll grew by 311,000 in February, nowhere near the incredible numbers we saw in January. Unemployment edged up slightly at 3.6%, as the labor force participation rate increased slightly to 62.5%.
Transportation and Warehousing jobs decreased by 22,000, including 9,000 directly from trucking. There have been 42,000 jobs lost in this industry since October of 2022. Leisure and Hospitality managed to gain 105,000 in February but are still 410,000 short of their pre-pandemic levels. Most of those gains were in Accommodation (+14,000). Healthcare (+44,000), Government (+46,000), Construction (+24,000), and Retail (+50,000) also saw gains in February. Meanwhile, the Information Industry lost 25,000 jobs last month.
The February Jobs Report and the January Job Opening and Turnover Survey are not showing the decrease in inflationary pressures desired by the Federal Reserve, who are still raising interest rates to head off a potential recession. Wages are still growing, creating the need to offset those costs with more expensive products and that is still driving inflation. However, with new jobs in Hospitality and Healthcare driving parts of the economy forward, they are hopefully offsetting the cuts from big companies like Amazon and Disney.
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Meaghan Goldberg covers recruitment and digital marketing for Lionzone. A Patterson, GA native, after graduating from both Valdosta State University and Middle Tennessee State University, Meaghan joined Lionzone in 2018 as a digital recruitment strategist before becoming the social media manager.