National Unemployment Rate Holds at 9.7 Percent

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Photo: NASA's Flickr

In the month of February, the nation's economy dropped fewer jobs than anticipated, keeping the unemployment rate at 9.7 percent. According to the AP, employers cut 36,000 jobs, which was fewer than expected (analysts expected the rate to rise to 9.8 percent) and may be a sign that the job market is recovering. In fact, here in New York City, though the unemployment rate is about one percent higher than the national rate, it dropped from 10.5 percent to 10.4 percent in January — despite the fact that we usually lose a bunch of seasonal jobs that month every year. Apparently the picture painted by these numbers may be even rosier than it appears — some experts say that the insane snowstorms that blew across the Eastern half of America last month may have inflated job losses by as many as 100,000, which would mean that in good weather, the country could have been expected to gain jobs. It's not hard to be a little dubious of that claim, and according to the AP there's data in the jobs report that indicates the storms didn't actually have much of an impact. But either way, we expect to see some very strongly worded warnings about this — set to ominous music — in Al Gore's next documentary.

Unemployment rate unchanged as 36K jobs lost [AP/Yahoo]
Jobless Rate for January Dips Slightly in New York [NYT]