Finding a solid work-life balance can be tough and a new study shows that U.S. is on the lower end of the work-life balance totem pole. The average American spends 40% of their day dedicated to their jobs.
The February jobs report was a downer, with just 20,000 jobs added, the fewest since September 2017, when hurricanes skewed the total.
While weather likely was a big factor after balmy temperatures led to outsize gains the prior month, the labor market could be slowing as the economy cools and employers find it hard to find qualified workers amid a 3.8 percent unemployment rate.
But the report produced its usual mix of winners and losers. Keep in mind the numbers are based on a survey that can be volatile from month to month, but a sharp increase or decline could still reflect a broad trend.
Americans on the margins
A reading of unemployment that includes discouraged workers who have stopped looking for jobs and part-time workers who prefer full-time positions fell sharply, from 8.1 percent to 7.3 percent. That means those on the sidelines, including some who may be disabled, are streaming back into the labor market because they believe they can get a job and, with wages rising, one that pays well.
While the broader unemployment measure was rebounding from a big rise the previous month, when federal workers idled by the shutdown took part-time jobs, the figure was still the lowest in 18 years.
There were a record 7.3 million job openings in December.
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The unemployment rate for Americans with less than a high-school diploma tumbled from 5.7 percent from 5.3 percent. Employers are more willing to hire workers with fewer skills and credentials and then train them as the low unemployment rate makes it harder to find skilled workers. The rate was down from 5.6 percent year earlier.
The unemployment rates for Americans with high-school and college degrees are still quite a bit lower, at 3.8 percent and 2.2 percent, respectively. But those rates have not fallen as much recently.
Unemployment for Hispanics plunged from 4.9 percent to 4.3 percent, the lowest on record dating to 1973. That followed a sharp rise in January but the figure has trended downward in recent months.
Unemployment for African Americans rose from 6.8 percent to 7 percent and is up from 6 percent as recently as November. The rate for black men has risen from 5.8 percent to 7.2 percent since November.
The teenage unemployment rate also leaped, from 12.9 percent to 13.4 percent, though it’s down from 14.4 percent a year ago.
Manufacturing added just 4,000 workers last month, the lowest total since July 2017. While weather affected job growth broadly in February, job gains at factories have trended lower in recent months and a measure of manufacturing activity weakened noticeably last month. The slowing global economy and U.S. trade feud with China could be taken a bigger toll and manufacturers.
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