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Pleasant Surprises: 236,000 Jobs Added; Jobless Rate Dips To 7.7 Percent

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
March 8, 2013

There were 236,000 jobs added to payrolls in February — many more than expected — and the jobless rate unexpectedly dropped by two-tenths of a point, to 7.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The news came as a surprise to most economists. As we reported earlier, they had been expecting to hear that employers added about 160,000 jobs to payrolls and that the unemployment rate stayed near January’s 7.9 percent.

We’ll be adding more details from the report and reactions to it, so hit your “refresh” button to be sure you’re seeing our latest updates.

Update at 9 a.m. ET. Private Payrolls Rose By 246,000:

The shaving of government staffs continued in February, BLS says. There were 10,000 fewer workers on local, state and federal payrolls last month. But a 246,000-increase in payrolls at private employers produced the overall boost of 236,000.

Update at 8:55 a.m. ET. From Early Headlines:

– “Job Growth Surges Ahead.” (The Wall Street Journal)

– “Payrolls Surge As U.S. Jobless Rate Falls To Five-Year Low.” (Bloomberg News)

– “Robust Hiring Pushes Unemployment Rate Down To 7.7%.” (Financial Times)

Update at 8:50 a.m. ET. Good And Bad News In Revisions:

A month ago, BLS estimated there had been 157,000 jobs added to public and private payrolls in January. Now, it estimates there were 119,000 more jobs that month.

But, BLS has now twice revised up its estimate of job growth in December. It began by saying there had been 155,000 jobs added that month. Later, it revised the figure to show growth of 196,000 jobs. Friday, it raised the December figure futher — to 219,000.

Update at 8:40 a.m. ET. Rate Is Lowest Since Obama Took Office:

At 7.7 percent, the jobless rate is the lowest it’s been since December 2008′s 7.3 percent. The month President Obama took office, January 2009, the rate stood at 7.8 percent. In the years since, it peaked at 10 percent in October 2009. It has now been just below 8 percent for six straight months. [Copyright 2013 NPR]

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