Unemployment Rate Edges Back up to 6.7%, Which Could Be a Sign of Job-Hunter Optimism

175,000 jobs added in February.

Mar 7, 2014 at 11:15AM

The Department of Labor released its February employment situation report (link opens in PDF) today, and things might be looking up.

While total nonfarm payroll employment exceeded analyst expectations of 150,000 new jobs by 25,000, the overall unemployment rate edged back up to 6.7% from January's 6.6%.  That's because, although absolute payroll numbers increased, more Americans were also looking for jobs, adding to the overall labor force. That's potentially a sign that Americans are increasingly optimistic about their employment prospects.

Employment Situation

Source: Labor Department 

Digging deeper, professional and business services (+79,000), as well as wholesale trade (+15,000), experienced relatively large payroll gains, while volatile motion picture and sound recording businesses shaved 14,000 off their payrolls. 

The severe winter had less effect on hiring than most economists feared. Construction companies, which usually stop work in bad weather, added 15,000 jobs. Manufacturing gained 6,000 for the second month in a row. Government added 13,000 jobs, the most in six months. Shipping and warehousing companies and retailers cut jobs.

In February, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by $0.09 to $24.31. Hourly wages have risen 2.2% over the past 12 months, ahead of 1.6% inflation over that time.

The average workweek fell a slight 0.1 hours to 34.2 in February -- analysts had predicted an expansion to 34.4 hours.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

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This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

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KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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