)- The number of Americans not in the labor force increased by 296,000 in February,
he thinks Americans can't read.
Here's the report: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pd...
Employers add a stunning 236,000 jobs in Feb.
Paul Davidson, USA TODAY11:13a.m. EST March 8, 2013
March hiring sign
(Photo: Justin Sullivan Getty Images)
Unemployment rate drops to 7.7% from 7.9%
Employers added a much-better-than-expected 236,000 jobs in February as the labor market continued to shrug off a recent payroll tax hike and the prospect of big federal spending cuts.
The unemployment rate fell to 7.7% from 7.9%.
Analysis: Report shows economy's strengths
The consensus forecast of economists had estimated the economy added about 160,000 jobs in February.
Businesses added 246,000 jobs, while federal, state and local governments cut 10,000. Professional and business services, construction and health care led broad-based job gains.
The Labor Department revised down job gains for December and January by 15,000. December's net payroll jobs were revised up to 219,000 from 196,000, while January's were revised down to 119,000 from 157,000.
Some economists had been looking for strong gains after a report Thursday showed the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits for the first time fell 7,000 to 340,000 in the latest week, and the four-week average of claims dipped to the lowest level in five years. Also, private payroll processor ADP estimated that businesses added 198,000 jobs last month.
Monthly job gains of 200,000 or more are typically needed to quickly bring down the unemployment rate. Job growth picked up last year to an average monthly pace of 181,000.
"We're slowly and steadily accelerating," says economist Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors. "The private side of the economy is in good shape. It's the public sector that's holding up" even stronger payroll growth.
Naroff expects average monthly job gains of 200,000-plus this year if the White House and Congress can agree to put off the budget cuts. If all the reductions occur, it likely would mean monthly gains of about 165,000, he says.
Business sentiment remains mixed amid the uncertainty in Washington. Thirty-three percent of executives plan to grow their staffs this year, 38% plan to reduce them and 29% expect no change, according to a first-quarter survey released this week by business group CEB.
In February, a broader gauge of distress in the job market — the underemployment rate — which includes discouraged Americans who have stopped looking for work and part-time workers who want full-time jobs, also fell in February to 14.3% from 14.4%.
Other signals were positive, too. The average workweek edged up to 34.5 hours from 34.4 hours in January. Employers often increase hours for existing employees before hiring. And average hourly earnings rose 4 cents to $23.82
Employers added 16,000 temporary workers. They typically add contingent workers before bringing on more permanent staff.