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March 2023 Jobs Report: A Look at February's Trends

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Executive Summary

By Nicholas Ault, Aston Carter Market Research Analyst

February’s labor market continued to exceed expectations with the addition of 265,000 jobs in the private sector and 46,000 in the public sector. The unemployment rate increased to 3.6% as labor force growth outpaced hiring amid recession uncertainty, contributing to an overall tight labor market. Although declining to 10.82 million, job openings remain 57% above pre-pandemic levels. 3.9 million workers quit jobs in January, dipping below 4 million for the first time since May 2021.

As roughly 270,000 people re-entered the workforce, February’s labor force participation rate rose to 62.5% — an upturn potentially tied to growing recession fears and the Federal Reserve’s persistent inflation rate hikes. Despite declining to 6% in February, the Federal Reserve is expected to raise rates again on March 22.

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February 2023 labor market trend stats: 311K jobs gained and 3.6% unemployment rate.

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