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March 10, 2006
Payrolls Grow at a Faster Clip

Payroll employment grew by 243,000 in February, and the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported.

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Over the year, payroll employment grew by 2.1 million.

In the goods-producing sector, construction employment increased by 41,000 in February, following a gain of 55,000 in the prior month. Over the year, construction employment has risen by 346,000.

In the service-providing sector, employment in education and health services rose by 47,000 in February. Healthcare employment continued to grow, up by 18,000.

Employment in food services and drinking places increased by 21,000 in February. Over the year, this industry has added 203,000 jobs. Employment was flat in both wholesale and retail trade in February.

Professional and business services employment continued to trend up in February (39,000). The industry has added 466,000 jobs over the year.

Meanwhile, the average workweek for production or nonsupervisory workers on private payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours in February, seasonally adjusted. The manufacturing workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 41.0 hours in February, and factory overtime was up by 0.1 hour to 4.6 hours.

Average hourly earnings of production or nonsupervisory workers on private payrolls increased by 5 cents in February to $16.47, seasonally adjusted. This followed increases of 7 cents in both December and January. Average weekly earnings were little changed over the month at $555.04. Over the year, both average hourly and weekly earnings increased by 3.5 percent.

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