What Brookings Scholars Are Saying about the February Jobs Report

Today’s “Employment Situation Summary” from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows total non-farm payroll employment increased by 175,000 in February, and the unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a percentage point to 6.7 percent.

A new post on the Job Numbers blog highlights new methods to adjust for seasonal patterns in employment data that have proven to be more accurate. The adjustment is described in a recent paper in the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity by Jonathan Wright.

Gary Burtless observed the effects of February’s colder-than-normal weather in the data:

In advance of the BLS report observers speculated that February’s severe weather may have dampened employment growth. If so, we should expect job growth in future months will erase the effects of bad weather in February. Adverse weather was certainly reflected in some of the statistics reported this morning. The BLS household survey showed a spike in the number of workers reporting they worked short hours as a result of bad weather. A total of 6.9 million people who usually work full time reported working less than 35 hours because of the weather. By comparison, in the February surveys between 2000 and 2013 an average of about 1.2 million workers reported working less than full time hours as a result of bad weather. Thus, bad weather last month reduced weekly hours for more than five times as many workers as are affected by bad weather in a typical February.

Isabel Sawhill and Quentin Karpilow wrote recently about the labor market for young people, those under 25 who experience unemployment rates over twice the national average. “A weak start in the labor market,” they write, “is bad news for both the economy and social mobility.”

Below are Tweets from some scholars about the new employment numbers and jobs: