US Unemployment Falls to 8.9% as 192,000 Jobs Created

The US economy created 192,000 jobs in February following a 63,000 increase in January. The unemployment rate ticked down slightly from 9.0 percent to 8.9 percent. The improvement comes just days after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s comments noting that there was growing reason for optimism but it could still take “several years” for employment to fully recover.

“We do see some grounds for optimism about the job market over the next few quarters, including notable declines in the unemployment rate in December and January, a drop in new claims for unemployment insurance, and an improvement in firms’ hiring plans,” Bernanke said.

Noteworthy

  • Employment at service-providers rose 122,000.
  • Construction payrolls rose 33,000.
  • Transportation and warehousing jobs increased by 22,000.
  • Retail trade employment declined 8,100.
  • Government payrolls decreased by 30,000 reflecting cuts at the state and local level while federal government employment was unchanged.
  • Average hourly earnings rose to $22.87 from $22.86 and the average work week for all workers held steady at 34.2 hours.
  • The underemployment rate (part-time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking) decreased to 15.9 percent from 16.1 percent.

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