The United States economy added 236,000 jobs and fell to a 7.7 percent unemployment rate despite federal economic woes and rises in payroll taxes, according to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
The unemployment figure fell to 7.7 in February from 7.9 percent in January, a low last seen in December 2008. The long-term unemployed figure remained relatively unchanged from January at 4.8 million, as did the employment-population ratio (58.6 percent) and the civilian labor force participation rate (63.5 percent).
The manufacturing sector added 14,000 jobs, including 6,400 more jobs fabricating metal products, while production of primary metals fell by 2,000 jobs, as the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette points out. The White House notes that the manufacturing sector added 306,000 jobs over the past two years, “the most for any such period since 1986.” The manufacturing workweek rose by 0.2 hours to 40.9 hours.
As with every jobs figures release, the BLS notes that initial jobs figures are volatile, and may undergo revision in coming weeks.