US employers added 379,000 jobs in February, with the unemployment rate little changed at 6.2 per cent, the Labour Department reported.
In February, most of the job gains occurred in leisure and hospitality, with smaller gains in temporary help services, health care and social assistance, retail trade, and manufacturing, according to the monthly report released on Friday by the Department’s Bureau of Labour Statistics.
Employment fell in state and local government education, construction and mining, Xinhua news agency reported citing the report as saying.
The unemployment rate, meanwhile, edged down by 0.1 percentage point to 6.2 per cent in February, but still well above the pre-pandemic level of 3.5 per cent in February 2020.
Despite the improvement in the pandemic-ravaged labour market, some 10 million people remained unemployed in February, well above the pre-pandemic level of 5.7 million, the report showed.
The number of permanent job losers, at 3.5 million, was essentially unchanged in February, but is 2.2 million higher than a year earlier, according to the report.
The labour force participation rate remained at 61.4 per cent in February, according to the report, and this measure is 1.9 percentage points lower than a year earlier.
Amid widespread Covid-19 shutdowns in March and April last year, 22 million Americans lost their jobs.
Despite improvement in the pandemic-ravaged labour market, the recovery has been stalled in recent months amid surging Covid-19 cases.
The weekly jobless claims report released on Thursday showed that the total number of people claiming benefits in all programs, state and federal combined, for the week ending February 13 decreased by 1 million, but remained elevated at 18 million.
Lawmakers are debating a $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief package in the Senate, as Democrats highlighted the urgency to rein in the surging pandemic, and to bolster the ravaged economy.
Republicans have however, called it a Democratic wish list, arguing that the plan includes provisions unrelated to the crisis, and the high price tag could result in unsustainable debt for future generations.
Democrats hope to send the bill to President Joe Biden’s desk before unemployment benefits expire in mid-March.