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Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Private sector employment in the United States increased by 295,000 jobs in February while the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent, according to ‘THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — FEBRUARY 2015’ jobs report released by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics. The most recent jobs report is available at

The February 2015 jobs report revealed the number of unemployed persons decreased to 8.7 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate was down by 1.2 percentage points and the number of unemployed persons was down by 1.7 million with an average monthly gain of 266,000 jobs.

For February, the jobs report found job gains occurred in food services and drinking places, professional and business services, retail trade, construction, health care, and transportation and warehousing. Among specific industries, the jobs report revealed:

  • Food services and drinking places employment added 59,000 jobs in February. The industry added an average of 35,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.
  • Professional and business services employment in increased by 51,000 jobs in February and has risen by 660,000 over the year.
  • Retail trade employment gained 32,000 jobs in February and has grown by 319,000 jobs over the year.
  • Construction employment added 29,000 jobs in February. Over the past 12 months, construction has added 321,000 jobs.
  • Health care employment rose by 24,000 jobs in February and has added an average of 29,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.
  • Transportation and warehousing employment added 19,000 jobs in February, and grew by an average of 14,000 jobs per month over the prior 12 months.
  • Manufacturing employment added 8,000 jobs in February.

On the negative side, jobs report also showed mining employment decreased by 9,000 jobs in February. Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.

In addition, the jobs report found the change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December remained at 329,000 jobs added while the change for January was revised from 257,000 jobs added to 239,000 jobs added. With these revisions, employment gains in December and January were 18,000 lower than previously reported. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 288,000 per month.

The Employment Situation for March 2015 is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 3, 2015.

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