The U.S. economy created 379,000 net new jobs in February, 355,000 of which were in restaurants, hotels, and other hospitality businesses, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
The leisure and hospitality industries cast off 500,000 jobs in December and January; therefore, the February gains signal a fundamental turn in the economy, some analysts say.
The manufacturing and service sectors also added jobs. Non-hospital health care offices, such as dentists and chiropractors, added a net 36,000 jobs and have now recovered almost all of the one million jobs they cut while the pandemic was raging.
Online retail, residential construction, and warehousing now employ more workers than in February 2020.
Employment at pharmacies, where people can be vaccinated, is growing faster than in the retail sector overall.
The unemployment rate edged down to 6.2 percent last month, less than half the 15-percent rate reached in the depths of the pandemic.
“Consumers may not be willing to fly on an airplane but appear willing to dine in at a neighborhood restaurant,” economist Nela Richardson at Automatic Data Processing commented to the Wall Street Journal
Household incomes grew in January as federal stimulus payments and extended unemployment benefits arrived in people’s bank accounts. Households are buying more manufactured goods such as appliances, and furniture and housing sales are at 14-year highs.
The economy, however, remains 9.5 million jobs smaller than it was at the end of 2019 and is still shedding jobs, with leisure and hospitality businesses employing 3.5 million fewer people than a year ago.
The construction industry dropped 61,000 workers last month, the Labor Department’s February figures show. Manufacturing gained jobs last month but still has 651,000 fewer workers than the year before. The retail sector remains 363,000 jobs smaller than before the pandemic.
Government agencies dumped another 86,000 workers in January and now have 1.4 million fewer employees than in February 2020.
Black unemployment defied the trend and rose in February, from 9.2 percent to 9.8, while joblessness among other ethnic groups fell. Workers lacking a high-school diploma lost ground, seeing their jobless rate rise in January from 9.1 percent to 10.1. Meanwhile, the rate for workers with a bachelor’s degree slipped below 4 percent.
TREND FORECAST: At the current pace, it will take up until 2024 before the economy can support the same number of jobs it did before the COVID War began, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Thus, while old jobs will come back, new ones will not be created.
And, as more money is pumped into the economy, more people will be employed and the jobless numbers will decline. We continue to note this is an artificially-propped-up economy, and we maintain our forecast that when the overvalued equity markets crash on Wall Street, it will send Main Street deeper into the “Greatest Depression.”

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