The U.S Unemployment Rate is at 7.7 percent, which is the lowest point it has been at since December of 2008, when the rate was 7.3 percent. The 7.7 rate also continues an overall trend of shrinking in the rate since the passage and implementation of the Economic Stimulus package in March of 2009.
This is what the Bureau Of Labor Statistics reported today, March 8, 2013:
THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — FEBRUARY 2013
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February, and the
unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business
services, construction, and health care.
Household Survey Data
The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent in February but has shown
little movement, on net, since September 2012. The number of unemployed
persons, at 12.0 million, also edged lower in February. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for whites (6.8 percent)
declined in February while the rates for adult men (7.1 percent), adult women
(7.0 percent), teenagers (25.1 percent), blacks (13.8 percent), and Hispanics
(9.6 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.1
percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See
tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
In February, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks
or more) was about unchanged at 4.8 million. These individuals accounted for
40.2 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)
The employment-population ratio held at 58.6 percent in February. The civilian
labor force participation rate, at 63.5 percent, changed little. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons, at 8.0 million,
was essentially unchanged in February. These individuals were working part
time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to
find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
In February, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
the same as a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These
individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work,
and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not
counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks
preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 885,000 discouraged workers in
February, down slightly from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally
adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work
because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.7
million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not
searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as
school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February, with
job gains in professional and business services, construction, and health
care. In the prior 3 months, employment had risen by an average of 195,000
per month. (See table B-1.)
Professional and business services added 73,000 jobs in February; employment
in the industry had changed little (+16,000) in January. In February,
employment in administrative and support services, which includes employment
services and services to buildings, rose by 44,000. Accounting and
bookkeeping services added 11,000 jobs, and growth continued in computer
systems design and in management and technical consulting services.
In February, employment in construction increased by 48,000. Since September,
construction employment has risen by 151,000. In February, job growth
occurred in specialty trade contractors, with this gain about equally split
between residential (+17,000) and nonresidential specialty trade contractors
(+15,000). Nonresidential building construction also added jobs (+6,000).
The health care industry continued to add jobs in February (+32,000). Within
health care, there was a job gain of 14,000 in ambulatory health care services, which includes doctors’ offices and outpatient care centers. Employment also increased over the month in nursing and residential care facilities (+9,000) and hospitals (+9,000).
Employment in the information industry increased over the month (+20,000),
lifted by a large job gain in the motion picture and sound recording industry.
Employment continued to trend up in retail trade in February (+24,000). Retail
trade has added 252,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Employment also
continued to trend up over the month in food services and drinking places and
in wholesale trade. Employment in other major industries showed little change
over the month.
In February, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours. The manufacturing workweek rose by 0.2 hour to 40.9 hours, and factory overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.2 hour to 33.8 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 4 cents to $23.82. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1
percent. In February, average hourly earnings of private-sector production
and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $20.04. (See tables B-3
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for December was revised from
+196,000 to +219,000, and the change for January was revised from +157,000 to
What’s behind this growth? The emergence of computer-based services and companies. The largely officially uncharted rate of startup growth has had an impact on the unemployment rate. Also, the emergence of digital media companies and production houses making videos and movies of all kinds has contributed to the jobs contribution by the movie industry.
And while the unemployment rate picture is not as good for African Americans, that rate, at roughly double that for whites, can only be a byproduct of a perceived (by this blogger) lack of new startups and companies established by African Americans.
The bet here is, if investment in new companies started by blacks is a priority, then the overall unemployment rate of African Americans will drop.