The United States February Jobs Report

The February United States jobs report sent the equity markets up this morning while respected commentators like Edmund Phelps, (Columbia, Economics Nobel in 2006), remark that they worry that the “recovery” might not have legs.

It always a bit odd to discuss growth that is less negative but that is the situation we are in as jobs have been falling since early 2008.  The year-over-year job decline measure improved by 50 basis points, from a decline of three to percent in January to a decline of two and a half percent in February.  This is indeed encouraging and continues a trend that started in September of 2009, where the year-over-year job declines have been moderating by at least 30 basis points per month.  At the rate of February’s improvement, year-over-year jobs would begin to grow by August 2010.  That is still quite a way off, and highlights that while the economy appears to be improving, it was a deep enough recession that robust job growth will not occur anytime soon. 

The other indicators from today’s Employment Situation report include long-term unemployed at 6.3 million persons.  February’s unemployment rate of 9.7 was unchanged from January.  The seasonally-adjusted non-farm job change was a decline of 0.3 percent, or a loss of 36,000 jobs.  Charts are included below.

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