In recent weeks, recruiting sites have had an increase in job postings, but demand remains lopsided. The warehouse, transportation, health care, finance and professional services sectors have shown particular strength. But the parts of the economy hit hardest by the pandemic, like restaurants, travel, salons and entertainment, are still floundering.
The February report is also expected to show a decline in state and local government payrolls.
“The dominant driver of the labor market right now is the Covid situation and the status of reopenings,” said Robert Rosener, a senior U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley.
He added that unusually harsh weather, particularly in the first half of February, right before the government conducted its surveys, could also have depressed hiring last month.