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U.S. Economy Adds 236,000 Jobs as Unemployment Falls to 7.7%, a 4-Year Low

| March 8, 2013

Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Click on the image for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

The last time national unemployment clocked in at 7.7 percent was in December 2008, before Barack Obama was president. It did so again in February as the economy added 236,000 jobs, totaling just over 1 million jobs in the last six months. In January, the rate had edged up to 7.9 percent.

Most sectors gained, including construction and manufacturing, pointing to a more solid recovery in the housing market and boding well for Florida’s economy in the longer term. Some 12 million Americans remain out of work, not counting those who have quit looking altogether or the 8 million people working part-time because they can’t find full-time work. But the so-called U-6 unemployment rate, which more accurately reflects the overall employment picture by including the under-employed, has also edged down to 14.3 percent, the lowest level since a 14.2 percent rate in January 2009. The number of long-term unemployed remains roughly unchanged at 4.8 million.

The employment-population ratio held at a still-low 58.6 percent in February, while the labor force participation rate remained at 63.5 percent. The participation rate must be higher if the economy is to show that workers are earnestly returning to the labor force in numbers approximating those before the Great Recession. Still, as baby boomers retire, and absent an influx of younger immigrants, the labor-force participation rate will naturally trend lower than it had in the 1990s and 2000s, because the nation’s fertility rate has also plummeted.

Some highlights on the plus side: Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs. Employment in administrative and support services, which includes employment services and services to buildings, rose by 44,000. Accounting and bookkeeping services added 11,000 jobs, and growth continued in computer systems design and in management and technical consulting services. Construction employment increased by 48,000, for a total of 151,000 new jobs since September. Specialty trade contractors gained especially, with gains almost equally split
between residential (17,000 jobs) and nonresidential specialty trade contractors (15,000). Nonresidential building construction also added 6,000 jobs.

The health care industry continued to add jobs in February, with 32,000, as did the information industry (20,000), with a large job gain in the motion picture and sound recording industry. Employment continued to trend up in retail (24,000), totaling 252,000 jobs in the last 12 months. Employment in other major industries showed little change over the month.

In February, the average workweek for all employees on private payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours. The manufacturing workweek rose by 0.2 hour to 40.9 hours, and factory overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls rose by 4 cents to $23.82. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent–not enough to overcome inflation or give workers a sense that their standard of living is rising.

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12 Responses for “U.S. Economy Adds 236,000 Jobs as Unemployment Falls to 7.7%, a 4-Year Low”

  1. Stevie says:

    I don’t believe this is a true reflection of the state of the jobs market. Also there is almost 14% unemployment with African Americans and 25% with teens.

  2. Stevie says:

    The total number of not working, not employed, keeps rising. This should concern all Americans because it is not healthy for the country as a whole. We are falling behind still.

  3. Legally says:

    This is the worst recovery this country has ever seen. But it is expected when you try to usher in Socialism, and promulgate the victim mentality with a perpetual road show around the country. I see and hear Democrats rant that Republicans are championing failure. But the record has consistently shown, that, IN FACT, the people championing the failure of this country are the people that lined up to put Barack Obama in for another 4 years. It’s an absolute shame!!! RIP America!!

  4. Mel Bronson says:

    89,304,000 NOT WORKING. As always, the numbers are manipulated by glorious marxist leader obama administration.
    The number of Americans designated as “not in the labor force” in February was 89,304,000, a record high, up from 89,008,000 in January,

  5. Shanna Carson says:

    Some people thought the world was ending. Sequesters you know. A good surprise is always welcomed. We should still remember to take these numbers with a grain of salt. Although new jobs increased by 236,000 there the overall workforce dropped by 130,000. Remember also that “new jobs” includes all part time and temporary hiring.That being said, this is certifiably good news that seem to indicate a positive trend.

  6. Jill says:

    Yes, and 130,000 fell off the unemployment rolls having exhausted benefits.

  7. Stevie says:

    Here is the effect of a comparison between workforce participation in 2009 and now

    “The labor force participation rate fell again as potential workers stopped looking for work. … [I]f the LFP rate was where it was in January 2009, the unemployment rate would be 10.8%. …”

    I got this from a web source and it may not be factually correct but it is worth exploring and having a debate. If this is true, then we are going backwards way fast and something constructive needs to be done to provide jobs for everyone.

  8. Joe says:

    Meanwhile, here in Flagler County……..

  9. John Boy says:

    The recovery is not what it could have been, but given the hard work that the Tea Baggers have done, it’s amazing that we have any recovery at all. The one good things that anyone with an ounce of common sense has to admit is that at least we stemmed the tide of losing 750,000 per moth under Bush. If the obstructionists has spent half of their effort in trying to improve things rather than destroying everything we would be much farther along. The Republican and Tea Baggers have failed at their vile attempt to destroy the USA.

  10. confidential says:

    Why don’t we slash in half the pays of all these tea baggers/conservative legislators in the states and in DC and strip them form Health Care Insurance and vacation/bonus/pensions like they are doing to all of us while we are forced to fund their perks? They need to bite the dust as well…what kind of deal is this fascist one about all for them in power and zero and missery to us?
    I hope Ashley Judd runs, as is being circulated, as a democrat against decrepit Mitch McConnell in KY in 2014…Who is running against Bohener? Lets remove all these obstructionist in 2014 in spite of the conservative Gerrymandering redistricting done.

  11. confidential says:

    When are we going to start our own battle to recover our jobs as the government wether Reps or Dems won’t do it? I buy made in the USA in as much as I can…latest, my pizza pan made in PA, my wine always from CA and a 2013 Chevy Malibu among other things. Here is an email I received which tells our story:
    John Smith started the day early,
    having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6 am.
    While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking,
    he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG),
    and put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA),
    designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and
    tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA).
    After cooking his breakfast in his new
    electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA),
    he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO),
    to see how much he could spend today.
    After setting his watch (MADE IN TAIWAN)
    to the radio (MADE IN INDIA),
    he got in his car (MADE IN JAPAN),
    filled it with GAS (from SAUDIA ARABIA)
    to continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB.
    At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day
    checking his Computer (made in MALAYSIA),
    John decided to relax for a while.
    He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL),
    poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE)
    and turned on his TV (MADE IN INDONESIA),
    and then wondered why he can’t find
    a good paying job in AMERICA.

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