Unemployment Rate Falls Below 9 Percent

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Photo: Chris Hondros/Getty Images

With the addition of 192,000 jobs to the economy in February (7,000 more than expected), the nation's 8.9 percent unemployment rate is at its lowest point in almost two years. While this is obviously good news, and economists say the numbers indicate the economy is on the right track — "We have moved into the expansion phase of the economic cycle and the economy is self-sustaining," one of them tells Reuters — we're not quite there yet.

It would take up to 300,000 new jobs a month on a consistent basis to reduce the unemployment rate significantly, economists say. But few analysts think monthly job gains in the 300,000-plus range could be repeated month after month.

So that's a downer. The recovery is also endangered by other factors.


But there’s a big wild card for the economy — rising prices. Prices for food around the world are at their highest levels in 20 years, and gas prices have been rising for weeks, with the average for a gallon in the U.S. nearing $3.50.

You better not let your struggle for human rights get in the way of our economy, Libya and other oil-rich nations! Don't be selfish!

U.S. employers added 192,000 jobs in February [MSNBC]
February payrolls surge, jobless rate near 2-year low [Reuters]