Job creation in the country has been disappointing. But many economists thought this would change at least temporarily in February after the winter storms passed. Where they right? N.C. State University economist Mike Walden answers.
“They were. … We had a good month in terms of jobs in February. The nation created over or almost 200,000 nonfarm jobs, all of them in the private sector. This is the most in a year. The national unemployment rate now dipped to under 9 percent; it is at 8.9 percent. We had big job gainers in areas like professional jobs, administrative jobs, health care jobs. Also manufacturing jobs went up, mainly for durable goods … .
“And this is the surpriser of all: We actually added construction jobs. We have been bleeding construction jobs right and left. We actually added construction jobs in February.
“Now I mentioned this is all in the private sector. Government jobs — particularly at state and local levels — shrunk. And I think this is probably going to be a continuing trend … because of the problems local governments — particularly state governments — are having balancing their budgets.
“All in all, this was a good job report. We need to create more jobs. We obviously need to bump that 200,000 up, hopefully to 300,000. But maybe this is the start of something good.”