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U.S. adds 236,000 jobs in February, unemployment rate drops

At 7.7%, February jobless rate lowest in five years

The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%, lowest since December of 2008, during the Great Recession. Economists had expected 160,000 jobs with the rate staying at 7.9%. Government shed 10,000 jobs, but the private sector added 246,000, with strength across the board. Many economists fear a drop in hiring because of the Congressional budget dispute, the onset of higher tax rates, the threat of federal spending cuts, and the storms. However, the federal spending cuts went into effect March 1, so were not reflected in February data. The spending cuts and tax rate concerns could affect results later in the year.

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The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February as the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7%, lowest since December of 2008, during the Great Recession. Economists had expected 160,000 jobs with the rate staying at 7.9%. Government shed 10,000 jobs, but the private sector added 246,000, with strength across the board. Many economists fear a drop in hiring because of the Congressional budget dispute, the onset of higher tax rates, the threat of federal spending cuts, and the storms. However, the federal spending cuts went into effect March 1, so were not reflected in February data. The spending cuts and tax rate concerns could affect results later in the year.

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YOUNG PEOPLE 18-29 DOING MUCH WORSE. While the national unemployment rate for February dropped to 7.7%, young adults are doing very poorly, says Generation Opportunity, an organization devoted to the so-called millennial generation. February unemployment for those 18 to 29 nationally was 12.5%. African-Americans of the same age group suffered a rate of 22.8%, and Hispanics 13.4%. The rate for women in the 18-29 age group was 11.5%, according to Generation Opportunity. Best, Don Bauder

March 8, 2013

While a long way from being good news, the trend is in the right direction. It has been a very deep hole to dig out from with no help from the folks that dug it in the first place. It would be interesting to compare the young adult employment rates from 2008 to todays numbers.

March 8, 2013

Dennis: I will see if I can get comparative numbers. Best, Don Bauder

March 8, 2013

Dennis: Generation Opportunity says it does not have that comparative data. Best, Don Bauder

March 8, 2013

According to the report released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "in February, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.8 million." These individuals accounted for 40.2 percent of the unemployed.

In addition, in one of their footnotes; The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from +196,000 to +219,000, and the change for January was revised from +157,000 to +119,000. If you take the sum of their original reported jobs creation in December and January of 353,000 and compare that to their adjusted figures of 338,000 – they over reported job growth in those two months by 15,000 jobs.

7,490,000 jobs were lost from Dec. 2007 to June 2009. About 850,000 more jobs were lost during the great recession than in the previous four recessions combined. It’s going to take a long time to dig out of that hole. Especially when you consider the young people trying to enter the workforce, (Today 172,800 people are born in the U.S. every month). Moreover, today 64,800 immigrants migrate to the U.S. every month according to the Census Bureau. That does not include H-1B’s, the myriad of other work visa programs.

March 8, 2013

Ponzi: You make good points. The nation is a long way from recovery. And it will remain so. Wall Street and many if not most major corporations have learned that their optimal status is very slow growth and the Federal Reserve continuing to flood the money supply by keeping interest rates at record low levels. For example, the revenue that companies lose from a slow-growing economy is more than offset by the ability to borrow money at rock bottom rates, and engage in financial engineering such as buying back their stock, thus artificially raising earnings per share, or making accretive acquisitions that pump up earnings. The Fed has said it will continue printing money even after the economy recovers. So the two most powerful political blocs in the country, financial institutions and corporations, really do not want fast growth, particularly since companies have learned they can operate with a smaller employment force. The Fed doesn't want fast growth either, because if bank borrowing picked up, all the money that has been printed would cause inflation. Best, Don Bauder

March 8, 2013

Perhaps you can start including the BLS Labor Participation Rate and Employment to Population Ratio in your reporting.

March 9, 2013

tomjohnston: That would not be a bad idea; both are signficant stats. Best, Don Bauder

March 9, 2013
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