Robust Job Growth in February

By at 4 March, 2022, 12:13 pm

by Raymond J. Keating –

The February employment report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics hit all the points on the checklist. It ranked as a robust month for job growth.

First, the establishment survey estimated that nonfarm payroll employment increased by 678,000 in February.

Second, the household survey, which tends to better capture startup and small business activity, registered job gains of 548,000.

Third, the labor force increased by 304,000, pointing to more people re-entering the job market as businesses work to entice them to do just that.

Fourth, the labor force participation rate inched up from 62.2 percent in January to 62.3 percent in February. That had stood at 61.9 percent in December.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

Fifth, the employment-population ratio increased from 59.7 percent in January to 59.9 percent in February.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, FRED

Sixth, the self-employment measures showed gains in February. Unincorporated self-employed (seasonally-adjusted data) pointed to an increase from 9.86 million in January to 9.98 million in February. While not back above 10 million, as was the case in late 2021, the move up is a positive. Also, incorporated self-employed (not seasonally adjusted so comparisons must be made to the same time in previous years) came in at 6.29 million in February 2022 versus 5.67 million in February 2021.

As noted in the above charts, the employment situation is still not back to where it was prior to the pandemic hitting two years ago. More months like February would be most welcome.

Unfortunately, moving against the recovery that the private sector is working to advance are the counterproductive policies – such as tax increases, greater regulatory burdens, and trade protectionism – being proposed and imposed by the Biden administration and many in Congress.

Raymond J. Keating is chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council.


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