Strong Job Growth Reported for February

By Toni Vranjes

March 8, 2013

Employers created 236,000 jobs last month — an extremely strong pace of hiring that surprised economists. Meanwhile, the U.S. jobless rate dropped from 7.9 percent to 7.7 percent, the Labor Department reported today.

One especially strong area was professional and business services, which added 73,000 new positions. Gains also occurred in construction, health care, retail trade, and the information industry. However, government employment fell by 10,000.

The robust growth for February topped economists’ predictions of 160,000 total new jobs.

down_arrow_7_pt_7However, the next jobs report could be affected by “sequestration” — across-the-board government spending cuts that took effect on March 1. Alan Krueger, President Obama‚Äôs chief economist, noted that the reference period for the February employment surveys was before the start of sequestration.

On the White House blog, he wrote: “The Administration continues to urge Congress to move toward a sustainable Federal budget in a responsible way that balances tax loophole closing, entitlement reform, and sensible spending cuts, while making critical investments in the economy that promote growth and job creation and protecting our most vulnerable citizens.”

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