Economy Adds 97,000 New Jobs, but Hours Fall

March 9, 2007 (Jobs Byte)

Economy Adds 97,000 New Jobs, but Hours Fall

Jobs Byte by Heather Boushey

For Immediate Release: March 9, 2007

Contact: Lynn Erskine, 202-293-5380 x115

The share of the population with a job fell even as unemployment remains steady.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 4.5 percent and the economy added 97,000 jobs in February. With revisions, the economy has added an average of 156,000 jobs per month for the past three months, about average for this economic recovery.

Construction shed 62,000 jobs in February. The losses were spread across both residential and non-residential specialty contractors, indicating that they are likely due to the severe weather around the nation that limited construction activities during the survey week. However, residential specialty trade contractors have lost 128,000 jobs over the past year, so February’s losses are not just a one-month aberration. Job losses also occurred in manufacturing, which shed 14,000 last month for a total of 97,000 over the past year.

The job losses in the goods-producing sector were tempered by gains in the service-producing sector, which added 168,000 new jobs last month. Government added 39,000 jobs last month, which is higher than average, and much of that hiring was in state education. However, temporary help lost l2,000 jobs last month and has been flat for the past year.