This c n' p throws a lot of water on the "Grab Your Ass" c n' p.
Jobs Report Signals Improving Economy
By LUCA DI LEO And JEFF BATER
WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy continued to add jobs in March, pushing the unemployment rate to its lowest level in two years and offering the latest signs of an improving economy.
The U.S. employment report indicated 216,000 job were added in March, bringing the nation's unemployment rate down to 8.8% and further pointing to a continued recovery.
Nonfarm payrolls rose by 216,000 last month as the private sector added 230,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Friday in its survey of employers. The February number was revised to show an increase of 194,000 jobs from a previously estimated gain of 192,000.
The unemployment rate, which is obtained from a separate household survey, edged down to 8.8% last month, the lowest level since March 2009 (Baxter reminder - Obama took office in January, 2009). Since November 2010, the jobless rate has declined by a full percentage point. Still, there are about 13.5 million people who would like to work but can't get a job.
The data were better than expected. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires had forecast payrolls would rise by 195,000 and that the jobless rate would remain unchanged at 8.9%.
Despite the improvements, Federal Reserve officials expect unemployment to remain high throughout the year as the economy struggles to regain the many jobs lost in the recession of 2008 and 2009. Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota said in an interview Thursday that he would be surprised if it were below 8.5% at the end of 2011. Even so, he suggested the Fed may need to raise interest rates late in the year to keep inflation under control.
The Labor Department Friday said private-sector employers, which account for about 70% of the work force, added 230,000 jobs in March. The February number was revised upward to show a 240,000 gain.
The private sector has been adding jobs for about a year, though the pace hasn't been enough to return the unemployment rate close to prerecession levels. The Fed forecasts it will take another three years before the unemployment rate reaches the 5%-to-6% range.
The March breakdown showed continued gains in manufacturing, which added 17,000 jobs. In the services sector, education and health, leisure and hospitality showed gains. Employment in the battered construction sector was flat after adding 37,000 jobs in February.
Total government employment, meantime, fell by 14,000 as local governments, struggling with budget shortfalls, trimmed payrolls.
In a sign of the challenges still faced by the labor market, the report showed 45.5% of unemployed Americans, or 6.1 million people, were out of work for more than six months in March, up from 43.9% in February. The longer someone is without a job, the harder it is to find work.
Average hourly earnings of all employees were unchanged at $22.87. Over the past year, earnings have increased by 1.7%. Higher income helps support consumer spending, which has strengthened recently, but remains weak compared with previous recoveries.
Meanwhile, the average workweek for all employees on private payrolls was unchanged at 34.3 hours in March.
Baxter note - these results should be welcomed by all so soon after the greatest economic collapse in 80+/- years.