Jobless Rate falls to 8.9 Percent
The start of a hopeful trend? Or a mere hiccup? Time will tell about this:
U.S. employers added 192,000 jobs last month, the government reported Friday — the biggest monthly jump since May and the latest sign that the nation’s employment picture is set to brighten this year.
The monthly payrolls gain was above market expectations for 185,000 jobs, with factories, professional and business services, education and health care among those expanding employment. As in previous months, the private sector accounted for all the job gains in February, with an addition of 222,000 positions, the most since April and up from 68,000 in January.
The Labor Department said the nation’s unemployment rate was 8.9 percent in February, down from 9 percent in January and sinking to a nearly two-year low.
=“These numbers are very good — they’re an indication that we are close to off and running,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told CNBC Friday.
Friday’s employment report suggests that companies are feeling more confident in the economy and about their own financial prospects. And it strengthens hopes that businesses will shift into a more aggressive hiring mode and boost the economic recovery.
Economists surveyed by CNNMoney were expecting the unemployment rate to edge up to 9.2%.
The economy gained 192,000 jobs in the month, roughly in line with economists’ forecast of 190,000 jobs. Businesses added 222,000 jobs — their best hiring month since last April — while state and local governments cut 30,000 jobs.
Another good sign: More jobs were added in the previous two months than originally thought. Readings for December and January were revised upward by a combined 58,000 jobs.
Businesses are clearly becoming far more confident about adding workers. Private businesses gained a total of 457,000 jobs over the last three months, even as state and local governments continued to lose jobs.
And more job seekers are finding work. The unemployment survey — which is compiled from a separate survey of households — showed that 664,000 additional workers reported having a job compared to three months ago.
Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of Economic Cycle Research Institute, said this is likely a sign of a pickup in new businesses opening up, though new employers can be difficult for the government to track.
“These are things that fall under the radar,” he said. “All of us probably know, anecdotally, stories of our friends and family who lost a job at a big place and took the opportunity to strike out on their own.”
Just as one political poll does not a victory or defeat make…one good economic report does not a recovery trend make. But it’s hopeful — and if it keeps moving in this direction then it will be an unemployment recovery trend.