Before Sequester Impact: Economy Adds 236K Jobs, Jobless Rate 7.7 Percent
The U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in the month of February, much higher than the expected 165K predicted by analysts.
As a result of the robust new nonfarm payroll jobs last month, the jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in January, and the lowest rate in four years.
One of the bright spot underpinning the February jobs numbers is the apparent ‘construction boom’ which saw jobs increase in that sector by 48,000, the highest monthly increase since March 2007. Since January 2011, the economy has created 349,000 new construction jobs, the U.S. Labor Department said.
Professional and business services added 73,000 new jobs and retail trade increased by 24,000 jobs, in February. The public sector cut 10,000 jobs last month.
One of the downsides of the February jobs report is, the labor force participation rate actually declined by 0.1 percent. This notwithstanding, analysts and Wall Street in general, hailed last month’s report as positive.
But, still, hold off on the champagne, as the report comes before the impact of the sequester or automatic budget cuts, which if no agreement is reached, will start to bite before the summer, most economists predict.