Slightly more than 300,000 jobs were added in February, according to new numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The 311,000 jobs added last month was slightly below the average gain of the previous six months of 343,000. Even with the gains, the labor market saw a slight increase in the unemployment rate to 3.6 percent from 3.4 percent in January. The labor participation rate changed little at 62.5 percent.
The leisure and hospitality industry led the job growth, adding 105,000 — 14,000 more than the six-month average. The industry remains below its pre-pandemic level by 410,000 jobs.
Retail trade added 50,000 jobs. Government employment, business services and healthcare added more than 40,000 positions. Construction gained 24,000 spots.
The information (25,000) and transportation and warehousing (22,000) sectors lost jobs. Each are down more than 40,000 since October.
The average hourly pay grew by 8 cents, 0.2 percent, to $33.09. It is up 4.6 percent in the past year. The average work week decreased by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours.