US generates 227,000 jobs in Feb but unemployment holds at 8.3%

09 March 2012 14:33  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US saw a net jobs gain of 227,000 in February, the Labor Department said on Friday, more than the 210,000 forecast by economists but not enough of a bump to lower the unemployment rate from its January measure of 8.3%.

In its monthly report, the department said that employment gains were made in professional and business services, health care and social work, the hospitality industry and in manufacturing and mining.

Despite the 227,000 increase in the number of working Americans, the jobless rate did not decline because the nation’s labour force increased as new workers entered the workforce and some unemployed who had given up looking for work have resumed the hunt.

February’s gain follows the 243,000 jobs added in January and the 200,000 advance seen in December.

The US economy needs to add about 150,000 new jobs each month just to provide employment for young people entering the workforce.  Economists say that to make any serious progress in reducing the unemployment rate, the country should generate 300,000-350,000 jobs per month.

The department said that the number of Americans who want to work but cannot find jobs held steady at 12.8m in February, unchanged from January but lower than the 13.1m jobless figure in December.

The unemployment rate has declined steadily if slowly since October’s 9% jobless figure. It fell to 8.6% in November and edged down to 8.5% in December.

But Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben Bernanke recently told Congress not to expect major or quick employment gains, saying that “continued improvement in the job market is likely to require stronger growth in final demand and production”, especially in the still struggling US housing sector.

Paul Hodges studies key influencers shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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