The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that employment in the private sector rose by 227,000 in February, and the unemployment rate held steady at 8.3%.
The total came in above analysts’ consensus, which had estimated between 210,000 and 215,000 new jobs. On Wednesday, Payroll processor ADP predicted 216,000.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 5.4 million in February. These individuals accounted for 42.6% of the unemployed.
Both the labor force and employment rose in February. The civilian labor force participation rate, at 63.9%, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.6%, edged up over the month.
“It’s good number–not just the headline but also the revisions,” PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian told Bloomberg Television Friday morning. “Also, the fact that the participation rate is going up and some of the structural elements are improving … Overall, a good report. Having said that, it’s just indicative of the healing process. We are not yet at escape velocity. We’re not yet in a place where the labor market and consumers can push this economy forward.”