Unemployment falls below 9%, government cuts 30,000 jobs

A job seeker carries a worn briefcase at the Green Jobs and Entrepeneurship Fair in Berkeley, California.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Encouraging signs from the Labor Department employment report. Private sector job growth really took off. And the jobless rate -- at 8.9 percent -- is at a near two-year low. But while those numbers certainly sound better than the ones we saw during the recession, it doesn't help that some government workers are still losing their jobs.

Marketplace's Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: Private employers created 222,000 jobs last month. A good thing, because 30,000 government workers were laid off. Economists were expecting state and local governments to trim their payrolls, and hoping the private sector would take up the slack. So far, private employers have delivered. Economist Joel Naroff is president of Naroff Economic Advisers.

JOEL NAROFF: When you lay off a teacher, or a fireman or a policeman, that's a person who becomes unemployed. So that person has to find a job somewhere else and it's obviously not going to be in the public sector with the cutbacks going on.

Naroff expects more government workers to lose their jobs in the future, meaning they'll also turn to the private sector. That means it'll take even longer for unemployment to fall back to normal levels. Even without government layoffs, we're still not creating enough new jobs every month to significantly lower the unemployment rate. About 6 million people have been out of work for more than six months. The longer you're unemployed, the harder it is to find a job.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.


TEXT OF ORIGINAL STORY

BOB MOON: Clearly investors are still combing their way through this morning's jobs report. And we've got our own Nancy Marshall-Genzer crunching the numbers for us in Washington:


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: At first glance, the numbers look pretty good. It's the first time unemployment has dipped below 9 percent in almost two years. Private employers created 222,000 jobs last month.

There were more jobs on construction sites for the first time in six months. Economists have been watching the construction sector very closely, since it fell so dramatically during the recession.

30,000 government jobs were cut in February. Economists were expecting state and local governments to trim their payrolls, and hoping the private sector would take up the slack. So, these are decent numbers, but we're still a long way from a full-speed-ahead recovery.

We're still not creating enough new jobs every month to significantly lower the unemployment rate. About 6 million people have been out of work for more than six months. The longer you're unemployed, the harder it is to find a job.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...