US Economy Adds 311,000 Jobs in February, Unemployment Rate Rises to 3.6%

The US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, outpacing expectations and exceeding the 205,000 jobs forecasted by economists surveyed by Bloomberg.[0] The rate of unemployment increased to 3.6%, surpassing the anticipated 3.4%, as the labor force participation rate rose slightly to 62.5%, its highest point since March 2020.[1] Leisure and hospitality led the way in payroll gains among major industries, with job growth of 105,000, followed by retail, which saw a gain of 50,000 and government, which added 46,000.[2] Professional and business services saw an increase of 45,000.[3]

Average hourly earnings rose 0.2% on the month and were up 4.6% over the year before, falling below expectations.[4] The report also showed that information as well as transportation and warehousing were two major industries that saw declines in February, losing 25,000 jobs and 22,000 jobs respectively.[5]

Fed Chair Jerome Powell informed Congress this week that due to the 500,000 payroll advances in January and a return of inflation, interest rates may be raised higher than anticipated and the hikes may be implemented at a quicker rate.[6] The Federal Reserve will convene on[5]

The jobs report likely keeps the Fed on track to raise interest rates when it meets again March 21-22.[7] CME Group's estimate showed traders believing the central bank will not move forward with a 0.5 percentage point increase as much, with the likelihood of this happening being put at 48.4%, or almost a 50/50 chance.[7]

Markets were mixed following the release, while Treasury yields were mostly lower.[8] Refinitiv reported that economists anticipated an increase of 205,000 jobs in February, in addition to an unemployment rate of 3.4%.[9]

All eyes are on the February jobs report as investors gauge whether any sign of weakness in the US labor market would prompt the Fed to go easier on the interest rate hikes coming in the next two weeks.[10] Following a highly unexpected January jobs report which showed an addition of 517,000 jobs to the economy, the report has now been released.[11] Revisions to the January figures were minor, with the final tally amounting to 504,000.[12]

Towards the end of 2022, with inflation figures seeming to be moving at a slower rate, markets predicted that the Federal Reserve would reduce the speed of interest rate increases.[8] In February, the Federal Open Market Committee's decision to raise the rate by 0.25 percentage points, coupled with its suggestion of smaller hikes in the future, was approved.[8] Stay tuned for[13]

0. “The US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, outpacing expectations” CNN, 10 Mar. 2023,

1. “February jobs report: U.S. economy added 311,000 jobs” Axios, 10 Mar. 2023,

2. “The US added 311,000 jobs in February, unemployment rate at 3.6%” Business Insider, 10 Mar. 2023,

3. “US hiring boom continued in February with 311,000 added jobs” The Guardian, 10 Mar. 2023,

4. “Jobs report: US economy adds 311,000 jobs in February as labor market stays strong” Yahoo News, 10 Mar. 2023,

5. “U.S. jobs report shows 311,000 jobs added as hiring slowed/stayed strong” USA TODAY, 10 Mar. 2023,

6. “The job market slowed last month, but it's still too hot to ease inflation fears” NPR, 10 Mar. 2023,

7. “Payrolls rose 311,000 in February, more than expected, showing solid growth” CNBC, 10 Mar. 2023,

8. “US economy added 311,000 jobs in February, exceeding expectations” NBC News, 10 Mar. 2023,

9. “US Jobs Report: Gold finger stretches higher on intraday charts as NFP data comes out mixed” FXStreet, 10 Mar. 2023,

10. “Friday's Jobs Report Is In. What It Means for the Fed.” Barron's, 10 Mar. 2023,

11. “Jobs Report: Soft Wage Growth Offsets Strong Hiring” Investor's Business Daily, 10 Mar. 2023,

12. “Economy adds 311K jobs in February, unemployment rises to 3.6 percent” The Hill, 10 Mar. 2023,

13. “U.S. Economy Added 311,000 Jobs In February, Unemployment Rate Ticks Up To 3.6%” Deadline, 10 Mar. 2023,

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