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U.S. temporary help payrolls increased by 47,500 jobs in February for a total of 2.0 million, according to seasonally adjusted numbers released today by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
February's gain in temporary help services jobs was slightly smaller than January's gain of 50,200 temporary jobs. The BLS revised down January's temporary job gain by 10,600, and December gain by 8,800.
The number of temporary help services jobs has risen by 284,000 since reaching a low point in September 2009, according to the BLS.
Temporary help's penetration rate edged up to 1.55% in February from 1.51% in January.
The employment services industry as a whole added 49,800 jobs in February for a total of almost 2.7 million.
Total U.S. jobs fell by 36,000 in February to 129.5 million -- the U.S. lost 8.4 million jobs since December 2007. The unemployment rate remained at 9.7% in February, unchanged from January. However, the BLS cautioned that severe winter weather in some parts of the U.S. during February may have skewed job numbers.
The Los Angeles Times reported economists were expecting job losses of 50,000 in February. Automatic Data Processing Inc.'s monthly employment report released Wednesday estimated the U.S. would lose 20,000 nonfarm, private sector jobs in February. Today's BLS report indicated the U.S. lost 18,000 nonfarm jobs (excluding government).
Construction industry employment fell by 64,000 in February, according to the BLS. It has lost 1.9 million jobs since December 2007.
Manufacturing gained 1,000 jobs in February, and healthcare added 12,000 jobs.