U.S. Experiences Yet Another Month of Strong Employment Growth

The U.S. economy added 227,000 new jobs in February, according to statistics compiled by the Department of Labor, which represents the third consecutive month of positive job growth in the United States.

Still, though, some critics observed that the unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent, which is viewed by some economists that the economy is not yet fully recovered, according to a report from The New York Times.

But the upswing in employment, and a corresponding decrease in the number of Americans filing for bankruptcy, suggests that the economy may be on the road to recovery.

U.S. Adds Thousands of New Jobs in February

According to a report from The New York Times, the jobs numbers bode well for American consumers:

  • Outpacing expectations. The Department of Labor’s February findings outpaced its predicted employment additions by more than 60,000 new jobs. Sources attribute the new jobs to increased private production, particularly in the manufacturing sector, and a slowdown in the loss of government jobs, which have been cut at a dizzying rate during the last three years.
  • Unemployment rate stays steady. Despite the addition of 227, 000 new jobs, the U.S. unemployment rate remained steady at 8.3 percent. Many observers, however, claim that the stubbornness of the unemployment rate is due to more people re-entering the job market as the economy improves. Thus, the steady rate is not necessarily a negative sign for economic growth.
  • Racial disparities. Even though new jobs were added, the unemployment rate for black men took a depressing jump to 14.3 percent, up from the previous rate of 12.7 percent. In contrast, the biggest employment gains were experienced by whites, black women, and college graduates.
  • Areas of growth. Sources indicate that a broad range of industries experienced growth last month, including manufacturing, finance, professional services such as accounting and lawyering, mining, and service industry sectors like hotels and restaurants. Oddly, though, construction saws its first job losses in a few month, although this was likely attributable to the typical winter lull in new construction.

While the addition of new jobs is a boon for the economy, consumer advocates are still concerned about the rising levels of consumer debt.

And, somewhat ironically, as consumers increasingly find new jobs, they may feel more liberated to make purchases on credit, which could increase overall levels of individual debt.

Nevertheless, the job growth this winter represents a clear indicator of an improving economy, which is good news for all.

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