U.S. Lost 36,000 Jobs in February, Unemployment Rate Unchanged

unemployment03052010.jpgKeep sending out those resumes, guys — things aren’t much worse than they were a month ago. And judging by the numbers, it might pay off to don a professional getup and head to the local temp agency.

The prospect of landing a job in media or anywhere else remained largely unchanged in February, according to today’s report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The national jobless rate held at 9.7%, and the total number of unemployed people came in at 14.9 million.

Manufacturing and retail-trade jobs held steady in February, while the information industry lost 18,000 jobs in February. Construction workers fared even worse, with 64,000 jobs lost in the sector. The temping business, meanwhile, added 48,000 jobs this month after having reached an apparent bottom in September.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek and other publications are making the case that the steady jobless rate reflects strength in the national economy, because the snow storms that hit the East Coast over the past month caused closures at some businesses.

The long-term unemployment count (the number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or longer), per the BLS, has been hovering around 6.1 million from December through February.

Update: The Newsweek Tumblr has just posted a hilarious mad-lib making fun of media outlets for taking all sorts of different positions on what today’s unemployment data actually mean.