The Two-Way
5:32 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Unemployment Rate Stayed At 8.3 Percent In February

Originally published on Fri March 9, 2012 6:53 am

There were 227,000 net jobs added to private and public payrolls last month and the nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged, at 8.3 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics just reported.

We'll have more from the report shortly. And watch for the Planet Money blog to add its take later.

Update at 9:50 a.m. ET. White House Comment:

"Today's employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," writes Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, on the White House blog.

He also says that "there was an increase in the size of the labor force last month of 476,000. Importantly, the increase in the labor force last month was due in large part to a reduction in the number of workers who exited the labor force between January and February."

Update at 9:15 a.m. ET. Boehner Reacts.

In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says in part that:

"Today's report provides some encouragement for millions of families and small businesses who continue to struggle in this economy, but unemployment remains far too high. It is a testament to the hard work and entrepreneurship of the American people that they are creating any jobs in the midst of the onslaught of anti-business policies coming from this administration."

Update at 8:55 a.m. ET. Other Notes:

-- The January increase in payrolls had originally been reported as 243,000. It was revised upward today, to 284,000.

-- The Wall Street Journal calls the jobs gain "solid."

-- Bloomberg News says the increase in payrolls indicates "companies are growing more optimistic about the expansion."

-- According to The Financial Times, today's news is "the latest indicator that the labor market recovery is strengthening."

Update at 8:50 a.m. ET. Some Comparisons:

-- Since February 2011, private employers have added about 2.2 million jobs to their payrolls.

-- In the first two months of 2012, private employers have added about 518,000 jobs to their payrolls.

-- The jobless rate in February 2011 was 9 percent.

-- At 8.3 percent, the unemployment rate remains the lowest it's been since February 2009. Its recent peak was 10 percent, in October 2009.

Update at 8:40 a.m. ET. More From The Report:

-- "Private-sector employment grew by 233,000, with job gains in professional and business services, health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining."

-- "The number of unemployed persons, at 12.8 million, was essentially unchanged in February."

-- "There were 1.0 million discouraged workers in February, about the same as a year earlier. ... Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them."

-- There were "job gains in professional and business services, health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining. ... Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs in February. ... Manufacturing employment rose by 31,000 in February."

-- "The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 34.5 hours in February."

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