Feb. Economic Report: Lowest Unemployment Since April 2009
The reports released late last week show the overall level of unemployment in the United States fell to 8.9 percent and 192,000 jobs were added to the economy.
It also drew a substantially different picture than the January reports, where the unemployment level still decreased, but the economy only added 36,000 jobs.
February’s report marks the first time unemployment has fallen beneath 9 percent since April 2009. Health care, manufacturing and business service sectors added jobs in February while retailers and governments at the state and local levels lost jobs.
State governments lost 30,000 jobs – their largest loss since November.
Amid the mixed economic indicators, the White House has been cautiously optimistic about the reports. Austin Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said, “Though unemployment remains elevated, we are seeing signs that the initiatives put in place by this administration — such as the payroll tax cut and the investment tax credit — are creating the conditions for sustained growth and job creation.”
Goolsbee further said that the White House “will continue to work with Congress to find ways to reduce spending, but not at the expense of derailing progress in the job market.”
Speaking to a crowd in Miami, Florida on Friday, President Obama said the current jobs report is evidence of progress, and should be used as momentum to keep moving forward with policies aimed at continuing economic recovery.
While the president was optimistic, he was likewise hesitant to take responsibility for the positive report. After mentioning the decreased unemployment rate and increase in job creation, President Obama reverted back to the topic of his speech: education.
Tying the two topics together, President Obama said, “A good education equals a good job. If we want more good news on the jobs front, then we’ve got to make more investments in education. As a nation, making these investments — in education, in innovation, in infrastructure — all of them are essential.”
Quick to respond to Obama, Chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus said the Obama Administration lacks the leadership necessary to make decisions that would allow the economy to fully recover. Fox News reports that Preibus said, “We have yet to see the leadership we need coming out of the White House to restore sustainable economic growth.”
House Speaker John Boehner reserved credit not for a political figure, but for average citizens. In a statement released by his office, Boehner said, “The improvement seen in this report is a credit to the hard work of the American people and their success in stopping the tax hikes that were due to hit our economy on January 1.”
Boehner went on to say, “removing the uncertainty caused by those looming tax hikes provided much-needed relief for private-sector job creators in America.”