February Employment Report: Private Businesses Add 246,000 Jobs

— Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers

While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides evidence that the recovery that began in mid-2009 is gaining traction. Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector businesses added 246,000 jobs in February. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 236,000 jobs last month. The economy has now added private sector jobs every month for three straight years, and a total of 6.35 million jobs have been added over that period.

The household survey showed that the unemployment rate fell from 7.9 percent in January to 7.7 percent in February, the lowest since December 2008. The labor force participation rate edged down 0.1 percentage point to 63.5 percent in February.

More after the jump.
It is important to bear in mind that the reference period for today’s surveys was the week of February 10-16 for the household survey and the pay period containing February 12th for the establishment survey, both of which were before sequestration began. The Administration continues to urge Congress to move toward a sustainable Federal budget in a responsible way that balances tax loophole closing, entitlement reform, and sensible spending cuts, while making critical investments in the economy that promote growth and job creation and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.

According to the establishment survey, in February employment rose notably in professional and business services (+73,000), construction (+48,000), health care (+32,000), leisure and hospitality (+24,000), and retail trade (+23,700). Manufacturing gained 14,000 jobs in February. The manufacturing sector has added over half a million jobs over the last 37 months, the most for any such period since 1986. In the last two years the construction sector has added 306,000 jobs, with half of that increase occurring in the last five months. State and local governments lost 10,000 jobs in February, mostly in education. The local government education sector has now lost 340,700 jobs since its recent peak in November 2009.

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.

America Is Working Again: Unemployment dives to 7.8%

  • 32 consecutive months of job growth in the private sector
  • 967,000 private sector jobs created since Obama took office
  • Meanwhile, governments at all levels have shed 642,000 jobs.



Statement by Alan B. Krueger after the jump.
The Employment Situation in September
Posted by Alan B. Krueger on October 5, 2012 at 9:30AM

While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.  

Most pressing, Congress should pass an extension of middle class tax cuts that President Obama proposed, and the Senate passed.  This extension would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase at the beginning of next year. In addition, the President has proposed a plan that will enable responsible homeowners to refinance their mortgage and take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates. To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to urge Congress to pass elements of the American Jobs Act, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders.

Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 104,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 114,000. Revisions to the previous two months added another 86,000 jobs.  The economy has now added private sector jobs for 31 straight months. Taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision (+453,000) released last week, the economy has added a total of 5.2 million private sector jobs during that period.

The household survey showed that the unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest rate since January 2009.  Labor force participation rose by 418,000 people in September, and the labor force participation rate rose by 0.1 percentage point. Over the last 12 months, the unemployment rate has decreased by 1.2 percentage points, the largest drop since February 1995.

Employment rose notably in health care and social assistance (+44,500), transportation and warehousing (+17,100), restaurants and bars (+15,700) financial activities (+13,000), and professional and business services (+13,000). Manufacturing lost 16,000 jobs, primarily in durable goods (-13,000).

As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.

Satire: Customer Service

Ring.

Hello, Romneytron 2012 Customer Service. “Believe in America.” How may I help you?

Hi, I just voted for the Romneytron 2012 but I am not sure its empathy circuit is acting right.

What do you mean?

It is saying all sorts of strange things like: “I like to fire people who provide services to me” and “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” It even strapped its dog to the roof of the car for a twelve-hour road trip and shows no sign of remorse.

More after the jump.

It sounds like it is stuck in “Tea Party mode”. Have you tried resetting it?

That’s what I thought. I called earlier when the Romneytron locked up the nomination and your colleague Eric Fehrnstrom said “It’s almost like an Etch-A-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and restart all over again.”


Did that help?

Not really. It turns out the Romneytron assaulted a student who he suspected of being gay, forced him to the ground and clipped his hair with a pair of scissors. And now he shows no regret for having committed a hate crime.

I don’t know what you customers want. You said the Romneytron 2001 was too French. You said the Romneytron 2002 was too pro-Choice. You said the Romneytron 2008 wasn’t conservative enough. There is no way to satisfy you people.

What ever happened to “The customer is always right?” I just want a leader who cares about my problems and will take my side.

Click.

I love being able to hang up on people.

JEVS Helping Hands Program

Penny Kardon, Director of Career Strategies for the Jewish Employment and Vocational Service (JEVS) in Philadelphia, explains the Helping Hands program as “a program for underemployed or unemployed Jewish individuals up to the age of 65. They are given intense vocational assessment, ongoing career counseling, and opportunities for us to pay for training programs. There’s a free computer program, workshops, lots and lots of support with job placement, (and) it’s a one-year program, it’s of no cost to the participants, and it’s completely funded by the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia.”

More after the jump.


The whole goal of Helping Hands, says Kardon, “is to make you more self-sufficient and it’s been working, it’s a wonderful opportunity if you qualify.”

Helping Hands, adds Kardon, helps fifty clients each year, and, she adds, “In general, we’ve (All of JEVS) been very busy.” The poor state of the economy, she adds, “has added clients to us, with Unemployment running out and a tight job market.”

Rhonda Cohen, Coordinator of Community Relations for JEVS Career Strategies, adds, “Our services are not just specifically for Jewish clients, we also take those who are not Jewish into our department, and that’s on a sliding fee scale.”

Helping Hands, says Kardon, is “primarily a career counseling service, we help you do your resume,  and counsel you, but if you want job placement, we have a full-time job developer, and out of those people who wanted job development, we have placed close to seventy percent of those individuals last year, and the year before. So we are placing people, even with the tough market.”  

America Gets Back To Work

America gained almost a quarter of a million jobs last month bringing the unemployment rate down for the fifth consecutive month. to 8.3%. According to TPM, “Analyst expectations ranged from high 100,000s to low 200,000s, so the numbers exceed expectations.”

“Hourly earnings are increasing and it shows the economy is “definitively gaining traction,” according to Mark Zandi, chief economy at Moody’s.

Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office’s budget outlook says what it always says “Deficits are huge, but projected to shrink dramatically in the next few years. Congress could sit back, do nothing, and deficits would fall from 7 percent of GDP to 1.5 percent of GDP” as the Bush era tax cuts expire.

Deficit forecasts after the jump.