08 March 2013 14:15 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (ICIS)--The US economy added 236,000 jobs in February, the Labor Department said on Friday, a much higher gain than expected and strong enough to lower the nation’s jobless rate to 7.7% from January’s 7.9% reading.
In its monthly report on hiring and unemployment, the department said that job gains in February were highest in professional and business services, construction and health care.
The increased employment in construction, up by 48,000 jobs, is seen to reflect the slowly improving ?xml:namespace>
Construction, especially new home building, is an important downstream consuming sector for chemicals and resins.
The department said that while the jobless rate edged down to 7.7% in February, the nation’s overall unemployment pace has shown little net movement since September last year.
In normal economic times, the
Economists had been expecting jobs growth in February to be in the range of 150,000 to 170,000, so the department’s actual figures took many by surprise.
The gain of 236,000 jobs also raises the prospect that the jobless rate could be lowered further in months ahead – if the February pace of jobs growth can be maintained or improved.
However, to make major headway in reducing the unemployment rate, economists say the
Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy
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