175,000 Jobs Added in February
As economists prepared for the release of the BLS’ “The Employment Situation – March 2014” report, they remained cautiously optimistic. After all, in November, total nonfarm payroll employment had risen by 274,000 jobs, one of the highest monthly totals of 2013 and the economy had recovered 5.4 million of the 8.7 million jobs lost during the recession.
When the BLS released its most recent jobs report on March 7th economists were surprised yet again. Rather than remaining stagnant or declining further, total nonfarm payroll employment actually surged in February, rising by 175,000 jobs. The nation’s civilian labor force also continued to improve, increasing by 264,000 and total employment rose by 42,000 jobs.
Economy is growing, but lacks consistency
Despite the welcomed rise in nonfarm payroll employment, many economists quickly pointed out that job creation must be more consistent to significantly lower the nation’s unemployment rate, measured at 6.7 percent in February.
The legal services industry lost 300 jobs during the month of February but this number is not seen as indicative of a downward trend. The legal services industry has shown gradual growth each year since 2009 and this is expected to continue through 2014.
In addition, the temporary help sector reported its 13th consecutive month of job creation in February growing by 24,400 jobs. Since February 2013, 18,975 new jobs, on average, have been generated within the sector on a monthly basis and in 2012 this sector grew by 7.3%.
Will warmer temperatures heat up the job market?
A majority of economists believe the nation’s recent deceleration in hiring is a direct result of this winter’s snowfall and record-breaking low temperatures which affected most regions of the United States. In February alone, 6.9 million full-time workers’ hours were lowered temporarily due to bad weather according to the Labor Department.
As temperatures rise this spring will the economy continue to recover at its current pace? It is uncertain as to whether companies will remain cautious and observe the market or new jobs and more hours will spread across the country.
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