February 2011 saw the nation’s unemployment rate drop to 8.9 percent, the lowest in almost two years. Employers added 192,000 jobs last month and made significant gains in payroll.
Although economists predicted a strong February report, the gains were still above market expectations. The job growth represented the biggest monthly jump since May of 2010.
“These numbers are very good — they’re an indication that we are close to off and running,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, who was interviewed by CNBC earlier this month.
“What’s really encouraging in today’s jobs report is the manufacturing numbers,” Zandi said. “I think we will get a boatload of manufacturing jobs in the next six months, and they are good-paying jobs.” Professional and business services, education, and health care also saw considerable February growth.
Though unemployment applications are now at their lowest level since May 2008 and the economy shows many signs of positive growth, rising prices may hinder some of the recovery. Food prices around the world are at the highest levels in 20 years according to MSNBC, and the U.S. average for gasoline is now at $3.50 a gallon.
Still, the latest reports are a bright spot in the economic outlook, and that’s good news for both businesses and jobseekers.