February BLS Report Mixed Bag, but Oil Industry Hammered

The February Bureau of Labor Statistics report had something for the bulls, and something for the bears.

For the bulls, the economy created a higher than anticipated 242,000 nonfarm jobs; December and January figures were revised upward by 30,000 net jobs, and the labor participation rate increased to 62.9 percent, the highest in a year.

For the bears, wages declined by three cents an hour to $25.35, and the average workweek also declined by 0.2 hours to 34.4. Earning less while logging fewer hours is a bad combination.

Job gains, many of them part-time, came in familiar sectors: health care and education, drinking places and retail. Losses came in manufacturing and mining which includes the energy industry.

While it’s good that underpaid and under-appreciated nurses and teachers are landing on their feet, jobs in health care and education aren’t the stuff of a booming economy, unlike mining and manufacturing.

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