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Friday, March 8, 2013

The unemployment rate has dropped to 7.7% and the U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in Februarynew unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in a month and a half and hovered just above a five-year low

The number of Americans who applied last week for new unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in a month and a half and hovered just above a five-year low, offering another sign that the outlook for hiring is on the upswing BREAKING: The unemployment rate has dropped to 7.7% and the U.S. economy added 236,000 jobs in February. Service industries led the gains with 73,000 new jobs, while construction added 48,000 and health care provided 32,000. Economists expected the economy created 160,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate held steady at 7.9 percent.The Commerce Department reported that the trade deficit widened to $44.45 billion in January from $38.14 billion in December. Exports fell, giving back the bulk of December’s gains, while imports rebounded after being depressed by disruptions to port activity in the previous months. The inflation-adjusted trade deficit widened to $48 billion from $44.2 billion in December. Economists said this suggested that trade would be a small drag on first-quarter growth However, there was anticipation that the number could come in a bit better than expected after ADP reported earlier this week that the private sector created 198,000 for the month. Investors watch the nonfarm payrolls number closely both to gauge general economic health and to discern future Federal Reserve policy moves.Worker productivity fell at a 1.9 percent annual rate, the weakest pace since the fourth quarter of 2008, the Labor Department reported. A month ago it estimated that productivity, hourly output per worker, fell at a 2 percent pace. The central bank has kept interest rates near zero for the past four years and is buying $85 billion in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities each month in an effort to stimulate growth. Fed officials have said the rate policy will continue at least until unemployment drops to 6.5 percent and inflation rises to 2.5 percent. However, the bond buying, known as quantitative easing, likely will stop well ahead of that if the Fed sees sustained growth signals Job Creation Surges as Rate Falls to 7.7% www.cnbc.com Job creation broke out in February, with the economy creating a net 236,000 new jobs as the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent.
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