Unemployment Rate Falls To 8.8%, A Two-Year Low
Since November, the Unemployment Rate has fallen a full percentage point, a sign that this is more than just a minor recovery.
For the second month in a row, we’ve got a strong jobs report and signs that the economy really has turned a corner:
WASHINGTON — The unemployment rate fell to a two-year low of 8.8 percent in March and companies added workers at the fastest two-month pace since before the recession began.
The Labor Department says the economy added 216,000 new jobs last month, offsetting layoffs of local governments. Factories, retailers, education, health care and an array of professional and financial services expanded payrolls.
Private employers, the backbone of the economy, drove nearly all of the gains. They added 230,000 jobs last month, on top of 240,000 in February. It was the first time private hiring topped 200,000 in back-to-back months since 2006 — more than a year before the recession started.
Since November, the Unemployment Rate has fallen a full percentage point, a sign that this is more than just a minor recovery. More important, U-6, the broadest measure of unemployment, has fallen along with the overall rate over the past four months and is now below 16%, not good but a heck of a lot better than it was even six months ago. Politically, this is obviously good news for the Obama Administration and, if it holds up, the possibility of the unemployment rate being belong 8% by Election Day 2012 seems pretty likely at this point.
The usual caveats still apply, of course. There are still millions of people sitting outside the labor force after the recession, and it’s going to be some time before most of them are back to work. Some of them to be quite honest, may never return to their previous levels of income. Oil prices continue to rise, as does the price of gas, and the impact of rising energy and food prices on the economy shouldn’t be discounted. At the same time, it’s clear that this is more than just a one month anomaly, it’s a real recovery.