Finally, the numbers are really looking better. News outlets are in a tizzy reporting that the unemployment rate dropped to 8.9%.
While that’s still high, it also nearly a two-year low as employers hired last month at the fastest rate in nearly 12 months. However, for those who are still job-hunting the pain is still acute.
In a prepared statement, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis said: "Our nation's labor market improved notably in the month of February. Non-farm payroll employment increased by 192,000. . . Today's numbers highlight steady, sustained and widespread job growth.
“We've seen private sector job growth for 12 straight months—adding 1.5 million jobs.”
The February numbers were better than expected but unrest in the Middle East, which is causing oil and gas prices to rise, is still a concern for this fragile recovery.
Any celebrating needs to be tempered by the comments of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke earlier this week in testimony before Congress.
“The U.S. economy is now in its seventh quarter of growth; last quarter, for the first time in this expansion, our nation's real gross domestic product (GDP) matched its pre-crisis peak,” Bernanke said. “Nevertheless, job growth remains relatively weak and the unemployment rate is still high.”