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Unemployment rate hangs steady, but labor participation rate at 35-year low

by Reg Clodfelter

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly unemployment report with February’s job numbers today, reporting that the unemployment rate increased by a mild 0.1 percent since January to 6.7 percent. Net nonfarm employment increased by 175,000 in February, just below the prior 12-month average of 189,000. The net employment gains reported by the BLS are more positive than those released by ADP for February, with ADP reporting a gain of only 139,000 for the month.

But the gross numbers paint a more interesting picture. Business and professional services employment, which increased by 79,000 jobs in February, has been strong for the past four years now, seeing an average of 50,000 jobs added per month since February 2010, according to Jeff Bean, senior research analyst with LaSalle Investment Management. Construction employment, which only rose by 15,000 jobs in February, should bounce back and perform well th

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