The Real Unemployment Rate For February 2021


This report was a case of a little upside going a long way in terms of economic outlook. In a normal economy adding the number of jobs we did in February would be terrific. With the country still in recovery mode from huge pandemic spikes in unemployment, it's decent. The report provided a big dose of economic optimism on Friday.

First, the headline numbers from the jobs report. The unemployment rate is 6.2% with more than 379,000 jobs. The positive revisions from previous months total to 38,000 jobs.

So, the net number was actually over 400k once you add in revisions from prior months. Incidentally the state which saw the biggest upward revision in jobs was Florida. Our unemployment rate was shown to only be 5.1% entering 2021 after revisions. Governor DeSantis referenced that possibility in his state of the state speech and that’s certainly what happened.

Now, the real unemployment rate once underemployed, long-term unemployed and marginally attached people are accounted for is 11.1%. There are currently 12.1 million people who are long-term unemployed, underemployed or marginally attached to the workforce which make up the difference between the base rate of 6.2% and the real rate of 11.1%. The biggest related storyline is a huge year over year decline in labor force participation rate, indicating that some people have given up looking for work.

As for Demographics, the unemployment rate declined for Asians and was essentially flat for all other demographic considerations.

The news generally continues to be great for those who are fulltime employed with a but over the past month. Earnings continued higher with wages rising above $30 an hour. The fly in the ointment, hours worked. The average person worked fewer hours last month more than offsetting the increase in hourly earnings. Generally, this remains an economy of jobs haves and have nots. Those who are fulltime employed are generally earning more than they ever have, including a near 6% increase in earning year over year. For those without employment, the competition for employment is the most challenging it’s been in around eight years.

Photo by: OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images


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