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Report: Unemployment Decreased During February

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Unemployment is down, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The February BLS report, released on March 10, said 235,000 nonfarm jobs were added to the U.S. economy in the fields of construction, private educational services, manufacturing, health care and mining, resulting in a slight decrease in unemployment from 4.8 percent in January to 4.7 percent. The number of unemployed stands at 7.5 million.

"The U.S. economy is doing very very well at the moment," said Jeremy Cook, chief economist at World First, a foreign exchange firm, reported CNN.

The jobs report also stated that the average hourly wage in February for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was $26.09, which is a 6 cent increase from January. January also saw a 5 cent increase from December 2016, meaning the hourly wage rose 11 cents in the past two months.

Since February 2016, hourly wages rose by 2.8 percent, which comes out to about 71 cents per hour.

Workers living in or near large metropolitan areas have been seeing the highest increases in job wages, reports The New York Times.

"Higher-wage jobs might be following educated, young workers, who are increasingly living in dense, urban neighborhoods as other demographic groups move to the suburbs," said Jed Kolko, chief economist at job-search site Indeed. "Broader economic shifts also favor big cities: The occupations projected to grow tend to be more urban, while shrinking sectors like manufacturing and farming tend to be located outside large metros."

But people in smaller, rural areas are not seeing higher gains in wages, and may be missing out on general job growth.

"A lot of this has to do with mobility," said Steven W. Rick, chief economist at CUNA Mutual Group, an insurance company, reported The New York Times. "People are going to have to move where the jobs are and not expect the jobs to come where they are."

And while some people are earning less money because of their geographic location, a lack of desirable skills for the current job market is also to blame.

"There is a certainly still a talent shortage out there," said Michael Stull, senior vice president at Manpower North America, a staffing agency.

The New York Times reported that Manpower North America’s annual survey for 2016 found that 46 percent of hiring managers had difficulty filling job vacancies based on a lack of skills which was a 36 percent increase from 2015. 

Sources: The New York Times, CNN, Bureau of Labor Statistics / Photo credit: Alan Kotok/Flickr

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