Unemployment Rate Steady At 9.7%


This post by Jill Schlesinger originally appeared on CBS' MoneyWatch.com.


Snowicane? Schmoicane! The BLS report is out and despite whispers of horrible numbers due to February storms along the East coast (over 1 million workers didn't work in February due to bad weather; in a typical February, just 291k aren't able to work; so the weather really was bad), the news was better than expected.


(AP)

Here are the basics:


• The US economy lost 36,000 jobs in February, bringing the total of lost jobs since the beginning of the recession to 8.43 million
• December job loss revised from -150K to -109K; January revised to -26K from -20K
• The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.7% -- the rate may have peaked at 10.1% last fall
• The broader unemployment rate, which includes part-time and discouraged workers, rose to 16.8% from 16.5%
Long-term unemployment (more than 6 months) is still a problem-6.13 million workers have been unemployed for more than 26 weeks, which equals 4% of the civilian workforce, a slight decrease from the 6.3 million and 4.1% record set last month. (Records started in 1948)
• Temporary jobs continued to improve for the 5th consecutive month with 48K new positions added last month -- temp jobs are seen as a leading indicator for future full time jobs

I was on CNN's American Morning today, analyzing the jobs report with my pal Lakshman Achuthan from ECRI. I loved his line that this is turning out to be "The Rodney Dangerfield Recovery," because it gets no respect. Who knew-an economist with a sense of humor?

It's been a long slog for the US economy and it's not all bright and sunny just yet. After all, nearly 15 million people are still out of work and there are nearly 6 unemployed workers for every job opening available. This chart from Catherine Rampell at Economix says it all.

But maybe, just maybe, there are signs of sunshine on the horizon.

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(CBS)
Jill Schlesinger is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch.com. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch, she was the Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.