U.S. Economy Adds Jobs, Continues to Recover
By MacKenzie C. Babb
Washington - The U.S. economy added 227,000 new jobs in February while the unemployment rate remained unchanged from January at 8.3 percent, according to a Labor Department report that the White House says signals an improved job market and stronger economy.
"Despite adverse shocks that have created head winds for economic growth, the economy has added private-sector jobs for 24 straight months, for a total of more than 3.9 million payroll jobs over that period," Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in a March 9 statement following the release of the February employment report from the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Calling the report "further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," Krueger praised the addition of 2.2 million private-sector jobs during the past 12 months, including 1.3 million added during the past six months, the most of any six-month period in nearly six years.
While the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.3 percent, or 12.8 million people, Krueger said the figure has fallen by 0.8 percentage points over the last six months.
The federal government lost 7,000 jobs during February, and construction lost 13,000.
Sectors with net job increases during the month included health care and social assistance, with a gain of 61,100 jobs; temporary help services, adding 45,200; leisure and hospitality services, increasing by 44,000; and an additional 31,000 manufacturing jobs.
Krueger said the economy has added 429,000 manufacturing jobs in the past two years, showing the sector's first sign of growth since the 1990s. To support the revival in manufacturing jobs, the chairman said President Obama has proposed tax incentives for manufacturers, enhanced training for the work force and measures to create manufacturing hubs.
Obama announced a new $1 billion proposal, the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, in remarks at a manufacturing facility just outside Washington March 9. The White House said the initiative will bring together government, private-sector and university leaders to accelerate innovation by investing in new technologies and training in advanced manufacturing skills for students and workers. The press release added that the proposal "will help to make our manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment in the United States."
The employment report for March is scheduled to be released April 6.
(This is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State.)