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Unemployment Rate Remained Steady in February

The national unemployment rate held steady in February at 9.7 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, though employment dipped in construction and jobs were added in the temporary help services.

The unemployment ranks numbered 14.9 million, with adult men accounting for 10 percent, adult women at 8 percent and teenagers at 25 percent.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was 6.1 million in February and has been at that level since December. About 4 in 10 unemployed persons have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.

The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntarympart-time workers) increased from 8.3 to 8.8 million in February, and these individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job, according to the Bureau. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 8.4 million.

Construction employment fell by 64,000 in February, about inline with the average monthly job loss over the prior six months. Job losses were concentrated in nonresidential building (-10,000) and among nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-35,000). Since December 2007, employment in construction has fallen by 1.9 million.

Employment in manufacturing was essentially unchanged in February. Small job gains in a number of component industries were offset by job losses in motor vehicles and parts and in chemicals. The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarmpayrolls declined by 0.1 hour to 33.8 hours in February. The manufacturing workweek for all employees dropped by 0.4 hour to 39.5 hours, and factory overtime decreased by 0.2 hour over the month. In February, the average workweek for production or nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarmpayrolls fell by 0.2 hour to 33.1 hours; the workweek fell by 1.0 hour in construction, likely reflecting the unusually severe winter storms. The employment situation for March is scheduled to be released on Friday, April 2, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).

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