February Jobs Report a Mixed Bag

The Labor Department released its much anticipated jobs report for the month of February that showed an uptick in private sector jobs.

According to the CNN/Money analysis, employers added 227,000 jobs and this figure was slightly better than the 225,000 that some economists had predicted. The numbers may have fueled “optimism about the recovery,” but the overall unemployment rate remained stalled at 8.3%. While some painted this as “encouraging” and argued that the jobs market “has turned a corner,” about 12.8 million people are still out of work with about 42% of those for six months or more.

Is the Economy Recovering?

CNN/Money highlights that the nation lost 4.4 million jobs before President Obama took office and that the last three months of job growth of 200,000 jobs per month is a “strong sign for the recovery going forward.”

But what the news agency fails to note is the millions of jobs that were lost after the president was sworn in, and in particular, the roughly 2.5 million private sector jobs slashed after Congress hastily passed the $787 billion stimulus package. Further, some economic forecasters contend that a far more robust job growth is needed, and that the gross domestic product figure of about 2% shows that the so-called recovery is tepid at best.

The silver lining in all these figures is that the private sector is still the “the main driver of job growth,” where jobs have been added for “every month since March 2010.” Moreover, the figures for February also show that the most solid hiring was in professional and business services where 82,000 jobs were added even though “more than half of those positions were at temp agencies.”

“What that tells us is, the demand for workers has increased to a significant degree, but the employers who want the additional workers are not yet confident in the sustainability of the recovery,” said Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at J.H. Cohn.

Some job placement pros believe these jobs will become “permanent” full time jobs and that the demand for positions in legal, accounting and health care is a trend that “typically occurs as a recovery strengthens.”

But the question remains as to just how strong any recovery will be given the fact that the real estate sector remains in the doldrums and housing is still the main driver of the US economy.


February jobs report: Unemployment holds amid solid hiring

Kyle Colona is a New York based freelance writer and a Feature Writer for the Compliance Exchange. He has an extensive background in legal and regulatory affairs in the financial services sector and his work has appeared in a variety of print and on-line publications.

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