United States: Labour market continues to improve
March 9, 2012
In February, non-farm payrolls advanced by 227,000, which came in below the revised 284,000 observed in January (previously reported: 243,000 jobs). The figure beat market expectations, which had anticipated payrolls rising by 204,000. As in previous months, the private sector continued to be entirely responsible for new hiring by adding 233,000 jobs. Job growth was widespread, with professional and business services as well as health care recording the largest gains. In contrast, the public sector maintained the downward trend seen throughout last year, shedding 6,000 jobs. The February figure marks the 17th consecutive month with gains in non-farm payrolls and, as a result, the U.S. economy has now recovered 2.8 million jobs since October 2010. That said, despite the improvement seen in the past two years, the economy still remains 5.3 million jobs below the peak reached in January 2008. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at January's 8.3%, which marks the lowest level seen since March 2009. The stable figure reflected a similar increase in both the level of persons employed as well as in the labour force, which suggests that the labour market continues to improve progressively.