February may be the shortest month, but it saw huge gains in employment. The U.S. Department of Labor's January Jobs Report was stronger than expected—and the February Jobs Report followed in its footsteps. Below, we're breaking down data from the most recent Jobs Report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and unpacking what it means for job seekers.
Spoiler alert: It continues to be a great market for employees, making it a prime time to kick off or jumpstart your job search. Here are the highlights you need to know:
Major takeaways from the February U.S. Jobs Report
- The American economy added 678,000 jobs in the month of February, exceeding economists' expectations around performance for the second month in a row.
- The unemployment rate was 3.8%, down from 4% in January.
- There've been more than 7.4 million jobs added since January 2021.
- We're getting closer to pre-pandemic levels of labor force participation, according to experts. In fact, the U.S. economy has regained more than 90% of the 22 million jobs lost during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic — a much faster rebound than after past recessions (and much faster than forecasters expected!).
- Job openings are near a record high and layoffs near a record low — a perfect combination for people who are looking for jobs or who want to leverage their skill set to grow in their careers.
What does this mean for job searching and job seekers in March?
- Good news for those looking to grow their careers in March: Candidates hold a lot of power in this job market.
- Demand for workers has been strong for months, and February was no exception.
- A labor shortage in the workplace still continues to help push up employees' pay, making it a favorable market for applicants to negotiate with companies.
- Leisure and hospitality led job gains in February, followed by professional and business services and health care—industries all rebounding as many pandemic restrictions in the U.S. ease up. If you're interested in learning new skills, honing your soft skills, or taking a course in a new field so you can pivot and find a full-time job in a new industry, it might be worth exploring these industries.
Whether you're researching companies and open positions as part of the exploratory phase of your job search or are ready to prepare your applications and start interviews, we're here to help. Install Teal's free Chrome extension go start adding roles to your Job Tracker.