WASHINGTON—Total nonfarm payroll employment in the U.S. rose by 242,000 jobs in February 2016, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The unemployment rate remained steady from January at 4.9 percent, the BLS said in the report it issued March 4.
Manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs in February, which—coupled with the $31.1 billion trade deficit with China for that month—paints a bleak picture for manufacturing employment prospects, according to Scott Paul, president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing.
“Working people in states like Michigan and Ohio feel the lousy manufacturing job loss and growing trade deficit with China, even if Wall Street and D.C. do not,” Paul said.
Health care (up 57,000 jobs), retail trade (up 55,000 jobs) and food services and drinking places (up 40,000 jobs) saw the greatest gains during the month, according to the BLS. However, such sectors as transportation and warehousing, professional and business services and mining either remained flat or dropped during February, it said.
“If you're wondering why there's so much interest in political insurgencies among both Democrats and Republicans this year, here's your answer,” Paul said.
Two days before the BLS figures, payroll services firm ADP Inc. said the U.S. added 214,000 jobs in February.
Working in collaboration with Moody's Analytics and using its own payroll statistics, ADP said small business created 76,000 jobs in February, including 37,000 in businesses with one to 19 employees and 38,000 in businesses with 20 to 49 employees.
Medium-sized businesses (50 to 499 employees) created 76,000 jobs in February. Large businesses created 76,000 jobs, including 14,000 in companies with 500 to 999 employees and 62,000 in companies with 1,000 employees or more, ADP said.
Nearly all the new jobs created were in service-providing industries, with only 5,000 in the goods-producing industries, ADP said.
Within franchise businesses, 18,500 new jobs were created in February, with 40 jobs lost the auto parts and dealers sector, it said.