Private-Sector Hiring Remains Strong

By Toni Vranjes

March 9, 2012

Last month, hiring was brisk in many different industries, according to the government’s latest jobs report.

Employment in the private sector increased by 233,000, the Labor Department reported today. The gains were spread across many areas, including professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing and mining.

Overall, the economy added 227,000 new jobs, a number that beat economists’ expectations. Meanwhile, the improving economy has drawn many people back into the workforce. The labor force increased by 476,000 in February, so the unemployment rate stayed at 8.3 percent.

The report also contained other positive signs. For instance, a broader measure known as the “underemployment rate” dropped from 15.1 percent to 14.9 percent.

Also, the number of “long-term unemployed” fell to 5.4 million from 5.5 million. People who have been jobless for 27 weeks or longer are in this category.

On the White House blog, the Obama Administration highlighted the continued strength of private-sector hiring. Over the past two years, the economy has created more than 3.9 million private-sector jobs, according to Alan Krueger, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

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