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neon employment sign

Job growth better but still sluggish

March 04, 2014

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the February Employment Situation Summary, aka the "jobs report." Unemployment changed little, from 6.6 percent to 6.7 percent, and nonfarm payroll rose by 175,000. That's better than January's 129,000 jobs. While this growth was better than economists expected, job creation remains shaky and the economy is not accelerating as we hoped it would be. Unemployment rates remain near historical highs.

In February there were 10.5 million Americans unemployed, and 37 percent of those have been unemployed long-term (out of work for 27 weeks or longer). The number of long-term unemployed rose in February by 203,000 to 3.8 million. However, one can find some good news here too; the jobless rate ticking up is not necessarily a bad thing. The number of people entering the labor force increased—people are becoming more hopeful of finding jobs and are starting to look for work again, which accounts for the increase in the jobless rate (which only includes people actively seeking work). 

Additionally, the U.S. added 24,000 temporary employment services jobs this month, and on a year-over-year basis 227,700 temp jobs were added, for an 8.9 percent increase. Nationally, about 10 percent of the workforce is contingent (or temporary); for IT professionals, this number is closer to 20 percent and growing. 

Information technology unemployment at large remains low, at 2.9 percent this year compared to 3.5 percent in February 2013. 

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