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US unemployment rises slightly in February despite a boost in new jobs

Saturday, March 8th 2014 - 06:37 UTC
Full article 13 comments
Long-term unemployed (defined as those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million Long-term unemployed (defined as those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million

The US economy added 175,000 new jobs in February, but the unemployment rate rose slightly to 6.7%. The jobs figures, from the US Labor Department, were better than many had been expecting and marked a rebound from two weak months.

 It had been thought the figures would be affected by recent harsh weather, which had hit much of the country. But the unemployment rate, based on different statistics, went up slightly from January's 6.6% to 6.7%.

February's jobs figure, known as non-farm payrolls and based on a survey of employers, compares with the 129,000 new jobs created in January. Analysts had been expecting a rise of about 150,000 last month.

“It is stronger than expected on several fronts,” said Camilla Sutton, from Scotia Capital. “That these numbers came even while weather was bad shows the underlying strength of the US economy.”

A large chunk of the gains came from financial and other services, which were responsible for an extra 79,000 jobs. Construction companies, many of which had been affected by the bad weather, added 15,000 jobs. But the information sector lost 16,000 jobs, most of them in film and sound recording.

Average hourly earnings in the private sector rose by 3.7%, or about nine cents, to 24.31 dollars, the figures show. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.2%.

The unemployment rate is calculated from a different survey, of households, and rose slightly from its lowest level since October 2008. It leaves the total number of unemployed relatively unchanged at 10.5 million.

However, the same survey shows the number of long-term unemployed (defined as those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 203,000 in February to 3.8 million.

Cold and snowy weather, which has disrupted much of the country, was one of the reasons 601,000 people with jobs stayed at home last month, according to the survey.

The US Federal Reserve has said the severe winter was to blame for recent weaknesses in jobs numbers, retail sales and house building. Analysts see the latest figures as further evidence the apparent slowdown was only a blip.

The stronger-than-expected figures are likely to mean the Federal Reserve will continue to withdraw extra support from the economy. The central bank had been spending 85bn a month buying bonds, but has now reduced that to 65bn and plans to cut the program by 10bn each month.

Separate figures released on Friday showed the US trade deficit widened slightly in January, partly because of rising oil imports. The deficit grew to 39.1bn, an increase of 0.3% on December's figure.

Categories: Economy, United States.

Top Comments

Disclaimer & comment rules
  • ChrisR

    I think the most appropriate statement to make is:

    “I TOLD YOU THIS WOULD HAPPEN”

    The stats from January were a joke.

    Mar 08th, 2014 - 11:40 am 0
  • yankeeboy

    Chris, My 'on the ground” observation is that the US economy is doing well. There's a lot of pent up demand though. People are waiting until the horrible administration is replaced.
    It looks like Senate will turn this year and that will put all the Marxism to rest until Odumbo is gone.

    Mar 08th, 2014 - 03:52 pm 0
  • DanyBerger

    The unemployment statistics from USAMEX never tells the real story.

    Unemployment in USAMEX I measured using 6 index going from 1 to 6 (U1 to U6)

    The figure in this article of 6.7% only shows the U3 index which is not the total figure of the fake official statistics issue by the BLS (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

    U6 total official Unemployment is close to 13%.

    But that it is not the whole thing...

    If workers have been out of work form more than a year like a long-term unemployed those workers are not counted anymore anywhere like if they are dead.

    It is not fantastic?

    Mar 08th, 2014 - 05:41 pm 0
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