Unemployment falls in US
WASHINGTON DC-Bolstered by a healthier private sector, the United States economy gained 236,000 jobs in February, well above what had been expected, while the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, its lowest level since December 2008.
The gains were broad-based, the Labor Department said Friday, with sectors ranging from manufacturing to business services turning in healthy results. Construction was especially strong, adding 48,000 jobs, a sign that the recovery in the housing market is beginning to translate into new jobs.
Public-sector employment continued to shrink, however, as the number of government employees nationwide fell by 10,000.
While many economists were encouraged by the report, some noted that the size of the labor force contracted by 130,000. Some of that was because of retirements, but some was also a result of discouraged workers giving up the search for jobs.
At the current rate of job creation, unemployment could actually crack the 7 percent level by the end of the year. However, economists expect the budget cuts now under way in Washington to contribute significant headwinds in the months ahead. The so-called sequester went into effect March 1.
“We think we’ll see some slowdown in April and May because of the sequester,” said Michelle Meyer, senior United States economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “We’re going to see federal job cuts and the spring is going to be a soft patch for the labor market.”
She estimated that the unemployment rate would stabilize at about 7.5 percent later this year.
Source: NY Times
Image: NY Times
08 March 2013