A report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday showed that the domestic economy gained 227,000 jobs in the month of February while the national unemployment rate remained steady at 8.3 percent. Overall employment increased in the sectors of professional and business services, health care, social assistance, leisure, hospitality, manufacturing and mining, according to the news release.
As of 2:00pm Eastern Time Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) index had risen 42 points, or 0.32 percent, to 12,950 while the NASDAQ Composite had improved 0.7% to 2,991. The S&P 500 meanwhile had surged 0.56% to 1,373 points.
For the month of February, approximately 12.8 million Americans were categorized as unemployed; a number that is relatively unchanged from January. Broken down by the major worker groups: the unemployment rate for adult men was 7.7 percent, adult women 7.7 percent, teenagers 23.8 percent, whites 7.3 percent, blacks 14.1 percent, Asians 6.3 percent and Hispanics 10.7 percent.
Long term unemployed individuals (defined as being out of a job for 27 weeks or longer) remained unchanged at 5.4 million; accounting for roughly 42.6% of all unemployed U.S. citizens. The Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate grew to 63.9% and the Employment Population Ratio increased to 58.6 percent for February.
A total of 8.1 million Americans were listed as involuntary part-time workers last month. This category is reserved for those who are employed on a part-time basis because their hours have been reduced or because they have been unable to find a full-time job. Marginally attached labor force individuals (defined as those who have been unable to secure employment despite having sought a job within the last 12 months) remained relatively the same at 2.6 million. Among those who are classified as marginally attached, 1.0 million were listed as “discouraged” workers; meaning they are not currently seeking work because they believe no job opportunities are available to them.
Establishment survey data shows that Professional and Business Services added 82,000 jobs in February with 55% of the increase (or 45,000 jobs) being attributed to temporary help services. Approximately 10,000 jobs were gained in computer system design and another 7,000 were added in management and technical consulting services.
Health care and social assistance employment improved by 61,000 in February, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 44,000 and manufacturing jobs experienced a 31,000 jump from the previous month. Mining added 7,000 jobs, with most of the gain in support activities for mining while construction employment was unchanged from January. A significant amount of jobs (35,000 in all) were lost in the retail sector, which offset gains of 23,000 that were reported in January.
Dow Jones Performance
The Dow Jones Industrial Average index, which is comprised of 30 large cap stocks, has performed admirably so far in 2012; gaining close to 6 percent Year To Date from its 12,217.56 closing level on December 30th, 2011. The index closed above the important psychological barrier of 13,000 points a week ago and could continue to rise depending on a number of global and domestic market factors.
Below is the intraday trading chart for the Dow Jones index which shows a slight improvement for the Dow 30 compared to Thursday’s closing level.
Investing in Your Retirement
Investing in your retirement has never been easier thanks to the tools available here at IRA.com. For those who would like to find out more about IRAs, click on the following links to read our sections related to the IRA Basics and IRA Rules.
Once you’re ready to get started, you can consult a Certified Financial Planner through us and Find an Advisor in your area who can discuss your individual investment needs and customize a strategy for your retirement savings. You can also Open an IRA through us for as little as $1 in a matter of minutes and begin saving for retirement today.