Unemployment Dips to 8.9 Percent, 192K Jobs Added

jobs reportBy Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Employers hired in February at the fastest pace in almost a year and the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent -- a nearly two-year low.

The economy added 192,000 jobs last month, with factories, professional and business services, education and health care among those expanding employment. Retailers, however, trimmed jobs. State and local governments, wrestling with budget shortfalls, slashed 30,000 jobs, the most since November. Federal government hiring was flat.

Private employers added 222,000 jobs last month, the most since April. That shows that companies are feeling more confident in the economy and about their own financial prospects. And it bolstered hopes that businesses will shift into a more aggressively hiring mode and boost the economic recovery.

The unemployment rate is now at the lowest point since April 2009. It has been falling for three months, down from 9.8 percent in November, marking the sharpest three-month decline since 1983.

"These number can be sustained and built on," economist Joel Naroff at Naroff Economic Advisors. "The economy is recovering, there is no question about it. Businesses are finally taking some of those profits they are earning and putting them back into the work force."


The number of unemployed people dipped to 13.7 million, still almost double since before the recession.

When factoring in the number of part-time workers who would rather be working full time and those who have given up looking for work, the percentage of "underemployed" people dropped to 15.9 percent in February. That's the lowest in nearly two years.

The positive news on the hiring front comes as the larger economy is gaining momentum.

Americans shoppers are spending more. U.S. exporters are selling more abroad. Manufacturing is growing at the fastest pace in nearly seven years. And the service sector, which employs about 90 percent of the work force, is expanding at the fastest clip in more than five years.

The 192,000 jobs added in February was a significant improvement from the 63,000 notched in January. Some of the boost came as people resumed work, after dropping off payrolls because of bad weather in January. Still, the gains were widespread.

Factories added 33,000 jobs. Education and health care added 40,000 positions. Professional and businesses services added 47,000. Leisure and hospitality added 21,000 jobs. Construction companies, 33,000 jobs -- although a good chunk of those reflected people coming back on payrolls after January's harsh winter weather; transportation and warehousing added 22,000 jobs.

The number of "long-term" unemployed, people out of work six months or more, sank to 5.99 million, a decline of 217,000 from January.

Workers' paychecks were mostly flat. Average hourly earning rose to $22.87 in February, up only one cent from January. Workers have little bargaining power to demand big pay raises because of the weak jobs market. Read the full jobs report and see for yourself!

See Also: Raises Are Still Scarce, but Employee Perks Are Coming Back

And rising gasoline prices are putting more pressure on Americans' pocketbooks. Gasoline is averaging close to $3.50 a gallon nationwide. Higher prices can force consumers to cut back spending on other things. That has the potential to slow the recovery and hiring.

Next: It's Time to Re-Energize Your Job-Search Efforts


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Bill

I love the way the Left Wing Media distorts everything. What they don't tell you is that the Unemployment Office's don't count those that have dropped off their rolls or that have quit looking for work through them. The true unemployment is still around 15%.

March 07 2011 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
WallyG

The real numbers are far more toubling which is why the administration chose to lie yet again. There is 10.3% unemployment per Gallup and overall it is 20% plus in line with the liberal icon FDR's fantastic two term debacle called "The Greatr Depression". Home prices have fallen to "1890 levels" per the Christian Science Monitor yet another example of how this administration has managed to trtansfer wealth in huge numbers from the middle class to its crony capitalists like Soros making them more mind boggingly wealthy while increasing the poverty levels and food stam recipients to the highest points in our entire history! Good news? For who? Oh yeah, Obama, He got in his 60th round of golf yesterday. He's one detached partying dude!

March 06 2011 at 9:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dd

PROPAGANDA BROUGHT TO YOU BY> A BIG BOEHNER ! WE THANK YOU U.S. CITIZENS WHILE WE DO NOTHING BUT NOTHING BUT ARGUE ! WE LOVE IT ! MONEY FOR NOTHING ! YOUR GENEROUS PAY EACH WEEK & THE WONDERFUL BENEFITS OF A BOEHNER ARE THE BEST ! & ITS ALL BECAUSE OF THE AMERICAN CITIZEN THAT WE GET TO DO NOTHING & COLLECT $$$$$$ THANKS AGAIN SUCKERZ! YOU ILLEGALS OUGHTTA THANK THE AMERICAN CITIZEN TOO, BECAUSE OF THEM YOU GET MONEY FOR NOTHING TOO ! brought to you by boehner and associates & the right to live illegally, collect welfare, healthcare, & all for nothing.

March 05 2011 at 1:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Karine

The current administratiuon must think that we are stupid! The numbers are down because thousands no longer show up on the Unemployment rolls. And now finegaling Oil prices pushes the average Joe even further back.

I just about have enough regarding the BS not only the current but every administration so far stuffes down American's throat. Why? Because they let them! There is much opression going our way. Democracy? My arse! America has the best Democracy Corporate Lobbyists can buy!

I wonder what it will take for Americans to take it to the streets. There are 540 some of them and millions of us !

March 04 2011 at 8:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chad

Everyone has to know that Obama and his goons are going to milk this stat even though it's deceptive as hell.

The fact is we need at least 500K full time jobs for people for the next 4 plus years to get back to where we were. In other words, approximately 20 million people are still jobless.



March 04 2011 at 4:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ralph

Great news, I'm sure Obama will boast. You other 14 million still unemployed......well, we just don't bother counting you anymore.

March 04 2011 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
felinca

America is a poor country now period. Even if you have a job the dollar has no value.

March 04 2011 at 3:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mchalf230

yeah right, construction added jobs after is just said the other day that new houses and all were at an all time low. Who are you fooling here . As for the added Manufacturing show me where? Nowhere i know iof and darn sure not here in NC . Why can't they just tell us the truth ?

March 04 2011 at 2:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BraceWinslow

Obama and his bunch will do anything to dupe us in order to make him look good, but it is not working. The economy is going down the toilet while Obama laughs at all the Americans screaming at him for not opening up oil drilling. He is an aberration this country should never see again.

March 04 2011 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Robert J. McCormick

Old saying in stats class: Figures do not lie; but, liar's figure.

March 04 2011 at 2:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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