March 11, 2013
By Evan Lockridge
The nation’s unemployment rate fell slightly in February according to the U.S. Labor Department.
It decreased from a 7.9% rate in January to 7.7% in February, as the nation’s non-farm payroll added 236,000 thousand jobs, pushing the rate to a four-year low. The increase was led by a pickup of jobs in the construction sector, which showed its strongest increase in hiring in six years.
The better overall rate was due to a combination of the unemployed finding work with the other half no longer looking for employment.
Trucking added the most jobs of any transportation sector in February, increasing by 5,600 jobs in February brining the new hiring level the past 12 months to 42,500 jobs.
The number may have been higher for last month, but some fleets executives at the recent meeting of the Truckload Carriers Association said they are seeing fewer driver applicants. The number of trucking jobs added reflects those only in the for-hire sector and not those with private fleets or trucking jobs in other fields such as construction.
Despite the pickup for trucking, total transportation jobs added fell for the third month in a row.
Despite the uptick in overall employment the number of jobs added is still below a monthly level of 250,000 that many economists say is needed to significantly cut the number of unemployed people.
President Obama warned Saturday that automatic spending cuts, known as the sequester, could reduce the overall job gains seen in February.