The Gallup good jobs rate enjoyed its best February in its six-year history as its workforce-participation metric rose in an apparent sign of a strengthening labor market.
said the good jobs rate (GGJ) in the U.S. was 44.6% in February. This is down from the January rate (44.7%) but higher than the rate in any February since Gallup began measuring it in 2010.
The rate tracks the percentage of U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, who work for an employer full time at least 30 hours per week. Gallup said it doesn't count adults who are self-employed, work fewer than 30 hours per week, are unemployed or are out of the workforce as payroll-employed in the metric.
The percentage of U.S. adults in February who participated in the workforce — by working full time, working part time or not working but actively seeking and being available for work — was 67.2%. This is up slightly from the rate in January (66.8%) and higher than the 66.9% average workforce-participation rate since June 2013.
Gallup's unadjusted U.S. unemployment rate was 6.2% in February, up slightly from January's 5.5%. It is still the lowest rate in any February since Gallup began tracking the measure in 2010, including last year's 6.7%. Gallup's U.S. unemployment rate represents the percentage of adults in the workforce who did not have any paid work in the past seven days, either for an employer or for themselves, and who were actively looking for and available to work.
Although unemployment rose in February, the current rate is still lower than in any previous February since Gallup began measuring it in 2010.
Most of this rise in unemployment is matched by a rise in workforce participation, indicating that the newly unemployed were previously not bothering to look for employment at all. Rather than being a sign of a weaker labor market, this increase in unemployment may actually be a sign of economic optimism.
And if the nation is offering more better jobs, Americans just may be starting to flock to them, according to recent data.
U.S. job openings surged in December and the number of Americans voluntarily quitting work hit a nine-year high, pointing to labor market strength despite a slowdown in economic growth, Reuters
Job openings, a measure of labor demand, increased 261,000 to a seasonally adjusted 5.61 million in December, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). It was the second highest reading since the series started in 2001.
A total of 3.1 million Americans quit their jobs in December, the highest number since December 2006. That pushed the quits rate, which the Fed looks at as a measure of confidence in the jobs market, to 2.1% — the highest level since April 2008.
However, Newsmax Finance Insider Peter Morici begs to differ.
The economist and business professor at the University of Maryland claims in recent years new jobs have been created at about half the pace of the Reagan years, he writes.
And the future isn't promising.
"The explosion of regulations — including federal and state pay equity rules, the minimum wage movement, the proliferation of unnecessary state occupational licensing requirements, restrictive local land use regulations that push up apartment rents, and policies that disperse low income workers across the suburbs — are raising the costs of hiring and keeping the unemployed and poorly paid from moving to better opportunities," he writes.
(Newsmax wire services contributed to this report).
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