The number of unemployed jumped 1.26 million from a year earlier to 4.67 million in the three months to February, while employment decreased 872 thousand to 27.16 million. The non-farm sector lost 526 thousand jobs, mainly in the construction sector; and the farm sector lost 345 thousand jobs. Meanwhile, the number of people detached from the labour force increased 270 thousand to 29.19 million. The labour force participation rate edged up to 52.2 percent from 52.1 percent a year earlier and the employment rate went down to 44.5 percent from 46.4 percent.
The non-agricultural jobless rate climbed to 16.8 percent in the December-February period from 12.7 percent in the previous year.
Youth unemployment rate, measuring job-seekers between 15 and 24 years old, also rose sharply to 26.7 percent from 19.9 percent in the same month a year ago.
On a seasonally adjusted basis, the unemployment rate rose to 13.3 percent in January from 12.7 percent in December.