Unemployment Hovers At 9.7 Percent Despite Snow

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The unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent as only 36,000 jobs were shed in February, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

The number of people working part-time because they were unable to find full-time jobs increased by 500,000 to 8.8 million, a discouraging sign to many, but jobs continued to increase in the temporary help sector, which added nearly 50,000 jobs.

Analysts had said that severe weather could have negatively affected payroll estimates by up to 100,000; if that turns out to be the case, then February actually had a net gain of jobs. The BLS cautions against quantifying the snow effect too precisely, however, and suggests we wait until March’s results to see if there’s a large positive jump.