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U.S. Labor Market Update | February 2024

Updated: May 22

We are diving into the latest update on the U.S. labor market for February 2024. Our findings show an increased unemployment rate; however, wage growth, job creation, and other positive trends suggest a recalibration within economic sectors. Join us as we dissect the intricacies of February's labor dynamics.


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Unemployment Rate

In February 2024, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 3.9%, up by 0.2 percentage points from last month. 334,000 more people were unemployed, totaling 6.5 million. This compares to a 3.6% jobless rate and 6.0 million unemployed a year earlier in February 2023, marking a notable update in the state of the market.

jobget unemployment data february 2024

February 2024 saw varied labor market trends: Service occupations' unemployment slightly rose to 5.1%, and Sales & Related increased to 4.7%, indicating sectoral strains. Conversely, Construction & Extraction notably dropped to 7.3%, reflecting sector strength. Installation, Maintenance, and Repair also experienced an increase to 3.1%, highlighting changing job dynamics.

jobget unemployment data by occupation

Job Creation

In February 2024, the labor market saw positive momentum, adding 275,000 jobs and a 150,000 increase in the labor force. Contrasting with January's decline, this indicates a rejuvenated labor environment, with more individuals entering the job market and continuous job creation, suggesting an expanding workforce. This scenario underscores the labor market's resilience and complexity, highlighting the influence of economic factors on labor force participation and engagement. This continuation of job gains, nearing December 2023's substantial 290,000, reflects an optimistic trend and the economy's resilience. With upward revisions of past months' data, the labor market's momentum appears strong, hinting at enduring growth and stability.

job creation jobget data february 2024

Wage Trends

In February 2024, the average hourly earnings rise slowed to 0.14%, indicating a tempered wage growth from January's 0.55% increase. This shift reflects a mixed economic picture, with specific sectors such as Financial Activities witnessing gains, contrasting with a dip in the Information sector.


february 2024 earnings increase

We break down these average hourly earning insights into specific industries as well, which you can see below. Some positive insights include wage increases in Mining & Lodging, Leisure & Hospitality, and Financial Activities, well above the 12-month average wage increase of 0.36%.

february 2024 earnings increase by industry

Industry-Specific Analysis

 

Job Postings

February saw a mixed landscape. Retail's significant job postings met with a lower fill rate, highlighting inefficiencies in filling positions. Customer Service maintained robust demand, while Food Services posted jobs at a slower pace, indicating varying industry activities.


Job Fills

Retail's fill rate plummeted, emphasizing recruitment struggles. Customer Service's fill rate also fell sharply, signaling a toughened hiring environment. Food Services experienced the most pronounced hiring challenges, with a marked decrease in fill rate.


Supply vs. Demand

The competitive job market softened slightly in Retail and Customer Service, shown by lower resume-to-posting ratios. However, Food Services' sustained competition despite fewer job fills underscores a persistent mismatch between job seekers and available positions, stressing the need for strategic hiring approaches.


Industry Analysis | Retail

In February 2024, the retail sector faced increased hiring challenges, with the fill rate dropping significantly to 19.59% from January's 43%. The time to fill positions decreased to 49.1 days, suggesting faster hiring despite fewer successes. Resumes received decreased to 21,600, lowering the resume-to-posting ratio to 0.77, indicating less competition than in previous months. This shift requires retailers to adapt their recruitment strategies further amidst changing job market dynamics.


jobget analysis retail

Industry Analysis | Customer Service

In February 2024, the customer service sector faced a sharp decline in its fill rate to 18.27% from January's 56.93%, indicating a more challenging hiring environment. The average time to fill vacancies improved slightly to 59 days, showing some efficiency in the recruitment process. However, resumes received decreased to 69,600, resulting in a lower resume-to-posting ratio of 3.3, suggesting a decrease in job competition compared to previous months. This shift underscores the ongoing need for customer service employers to adapt their hiring strategies amidst a fluctuating job market landscape.


jobget analysis customer service

Industry Analysis | Food Services

In February 2024, the food services sector faced increased hiring difficulties, with the fill rate decreasing to 15.65% from January's 41.77%. The time to fill positions rose to an average of 224.3 days, underscoring prolonged hiring processes. Despite the decreasing number of resumes received to 27,800, the competitive landscape persisted with a resume-to-posting ratio of 1.37. These trends highlight the ongoing challenges in attracting and securing talent in the food services industry, emphasizing the critical need for innovative recruitment strategies.


jobget analysis food service

Key Takeaways For February

In February 2024, the U.S. labor market's dynamic landscape showed growth and adjustment. Adding 275,000 jobs highlighted ongoing expansion, while a 0.2 percentage point rise in unemployment to 3.9% indicated some market flux. The labor force swelled by 150,000 people, reflecting a rise in active job-seeking. Wage increases showed sectoral divides, with Financial Activities witnessing gains, yet overall wage growth moderated. Industries like Retail, Customer Service, and Food Services navigated through intense recruitment competition. These patterns point to a labor market that continues to adapt in the face of shifting economic conditions.


 

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