The jobs report's hopeful signs boost stocks

The Dow jumps 68 as government says 236,000 jobs were created in February. The jobless rate falls to 7.7%. Construction jobs were a particularly bright spot.

By Charley Blaine Mar 8, 2013 10:57AM
Updated: 5:24 p.m. ET

Stocks enjoyed their best weekly performance of 2013 on Friday after the government reported the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.7% in February, the lowest rate since December 2008.

At the same time, the Labor Department said a surprising 236,000 jobs were created in February. Most economists had been looking for a gain of 165,000 at most.

The report also said the economy added 246,000 private sector jobs. It was the third month in the last four that this category had topped 200,000.

The positive jobs report could be a signal that the economy may getting strong enough to bring the national unemployment down further. The rule of thumb that economists have used is that 200,000 or so new jobs a month are needed to lower the unemployment rate.

The jobless rate hasn't been below 7% since November 2008, when the full force of the recession slammed into thHome unde construction © Corbise economy, and the Federal Reserve has promised to keep rates at ultra-low levels until the unemployment drops below 6.5%.

A pleasant surprise in the report was that the construction sector added 48,000 jobs in February, the most since March 2007. That total includes a small gain in residential construction, which has been slow to recover from the housing bust.

Thanks to the news, the Dow Jones industrials ($INDU) jumped 84 points at the open. The gains faded,  but the index regained its momentum in the afternoon, finishing up 68 points to a record close of 14,397.

The blue chips hit a new intraday high of 14,413.17 as well.  

The Standard & Poor's 500 Index ($INX) gained 7 points to 1,551. That was just below its high of the day of 1,552.48 and within 14 points of its all-time closing high of 1,565.15, set on Oct. 9, 2007.

The Nasdaq Composite Index ($COMPX) had gained 13 points to 3,245.

The Dow, of course, broke its 2007 closing high on Tuesday. Today's gain was the Dow's sixth in a row, its second six-day winning streak in 2013. It was also the sixth straight gain for the S&P 500, which had an eight-day winning streak in January.

For the week, the Dow rose 2.2%, its best showing for a full week this year. The Dow ended the week of Dec. 31 up 3.8%. The S&P 500 had a 2.2% gain, while the Nasdaq climbed 2.4% a 2.4% gain in its sights.

For the year, the Dow is up 9.5%, its best start to a year since 1999. The S&P 500 is up 8.8%, while the Nasdaq is up 7.5%.

This latest unemployment report comes as many worry that federal budget cuts set in motion by a congressional impasse could increase the ranks of the jobless in the months ahead.

Those cuts went into effect March 1 and aren't reflected in the February report. But pressure on government payrolls was evident, with the public sector losing 10,000 jobs last month. Private employers added 246,000 positions.

The report will also boost the volume in the debate over whether the Federal Reserve should stop its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program. The program, a third round of so-called quantitative easing -- is designed to keep long-term interest rates low to support the economic recovery.

There were some warts in the report. Overall employment was up, but the labor force shrank by 130,000. The labor participation rate fell slightly to 63.5%. That's a rate that prevailed during the economic slowdowns of the early 1980s and is not healthy.

And Philippa Dunne and Doug Henwood of the Liscio Report noted that the the biggest share of job gains went to those workers without a high school diploma. Over the past year, job seekers with at least a bachelor's saw the most job gains.

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Mar 8, 2013 1:19PM
So with all the job reports coming out every month, why doesn't somebody produce a report that show how many job layoffs there were so you can determine how many net jobs were actually created?  Also..when the job reports come out how about providing some insight as to whether or not these were full-time, part-time, seasonal etc. along with what the average hourly rate or salary was and did these jobs include benefits.  Here is what the Truth is...companies are continuing to outsource the higher paying jobs or consolidating them which results in  job elimination.  The majority of jobs being created are lower wage jobs in retail, service industries etc.  Even with all this data, I still don't believe nor trust the sources providing the information. 
Mar 8, 2013 11:41AM
Glad to see that Wal-Mart and McDonalds are hiring.
Mar 8, 2013 7:33PM
What kind of jobs are they talking about?  The only ones hiring around here are chump change paying jobs.  
Mar 8, 2013 12:07PM
Yes all this is true but how many people are not even in the count any longer????? Also they noted this morning in the report that those unemployed for more than 6 months rose.
Mar 8, 2013 2:17PM
The labor participation rate continues to drop.  We're still waiting for the real big monthly jobs number to pop out -  this has occurred in every single other recovery.  Based on where we were at, the "jobs recovery" we've seen so far is unacceptable.
Mar 8, 2013 7:46PM
I didnt even read the article I just scanned through it because I know it is bogus. Did it mention the 130k people who just dropped out of the job search. I doubt it. So add them beck in and its not so good now is it. In fact, add them all back in since oh, say, 2010 and things wouldn't be quite so bright. If it did mention it, I will stand corrected.
Mar 8, 2013 7:39PM
Everything is still really bad.  People are suffering without work and are losing their homes and their lives due to this falling economy.  All of this media news is full of falsities and lies.  It is so bad out here that the billions who are suffering are well aware of this and we also see those suffering all around us.

The stock market and those who are involved in it are a bunch of idiots to believe that the economy is getting better.

The stock market is also not a correct representation of the majority who are suffering so severely.  The richer are getting richer obviously, but the majority are in serious trouble.

Mar 8, 2013 9:24PM
Employment situation is better? Just like slowing the increase in spending is a cut. Just like the most transparent admin. in history. Just like there is no red state and blue state. Just like Gitmo will close. Just like most people support the ACA. Just like GM cant go bankrupt. Just like the deficit will be cut in half after 4 years. Just like Benghazi was because of the video. Need I go on? I know the lies will never stop, I just want to know when the people who voted for obama will wise up. Oh, that would be never too.
Mar 8, 2013 7:47PM
The job report does not count those not looking for work anymore, it is more likely to be a lot higher, as other reports indicate.  How many jobs are being created because they don't want to hire full time, but part time and need more employees?
Mar 8, 2013 7:31PM
Do the Math 20+ Million people out of work ...20+Million Illegal's working in the US using our benefits.. Get rid of them and Unemployment will be gone..Dont listen to the Liberals saying there here doing the work Americans don't want to do that's BS. We will do whatever to feed our families!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mar 8, 2013 1:04PM

How can anyone who can do simple math find this jobs report promising?

Mar 8, 2013 7:53PM
So, how does the 2 part-time employees verses 1 full time employee counting work?    This jobs report would be almost meaningful if it included the median wages being paid.
Mar 8, 2013 7:26PM
Yeah that's nice, But all construction uses Illegal workers "Mexicans" So yeah the work and money they take from legal Americans doesn't help us a bit!!! Half the money they make goes back to Mexico So keep this crap off of here it does not reflect on American workers because We refuse to work for Mexican wages!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mar 8, 2013 7:59PM
ALL OF THIS REPORT MEANS NOTHING:  it only means that they are wrong and your in for a **** whooping in not the very far future.
Mar 8, 2013 2:41PM
Wait till the March numbers come out.  The affects of the government sequester fiasco are taking place this month in the form of hundreds of thousands of private sector job losses.  There are thousands of small and large companies who indirectly provide goods and services to the government.  Hope you all have your financial ducks in a row, it's going to be a rough ride.    
Mar 8, 2013 7:46PM
Forgive me. I don't see this as a positive report. 
The jobs report's hopeful signs boost stocks
The Dow jumps 68 as government says 236,000 jobs were created in February. The jobless rate falls to 7.7%. Construction jobs were a particularly bright spot.


236,000 jobs created in February.  Construction would certainly be down during the coldest of winter.  February does have a few warm days, especially in the South.  So, nothing there to report.  Now, the jobless rate falls....expected with a few warm days and in Construction.  And, Constructiona bright spot.  All I see going up is hospitals, doctors offices and clinics.  Those are "housing" jobs too.  When all are addicted, there still won't be enough medical establishments to serve the addicts.  But, when nobody is working, due to the legal drug dealers, the problem will take care of itself.  No jobs, no taxes, no money for guvymint to waste.  Then, maybe they'll shut down and turn our the lights.

Mar 8, 2013 8:30PM
The one key report there is the employee participation rate. I believe we are at or around 40 year lows and still dropped this month. That is not good at all.
Mar 8, 2013 8:12PM
Man, glad I was sitting on the toilet when I read this.   Maobama-the WORST recovery in history and the most BULSHEET EVER!!!!!  GD Liars!
Mar 8, 2013 9:51PM


Listed above is the labor participation rate just released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The media and the government are giving us the same sort of pep talk, telling us jobs are abound and all is going great with a 7.7% unemployment rate. I've heard all the arguments from the left that try to justify the lowest participation rate in modern history, but they are lame excuses designed to distract from the truth. The unemployment rate published by and referenced to by the media does not give a true indication of the state of the employment picture today. These figures show that there are less than 2 people out of every 3 in our country working. This is clearly unsustainable since many of the jobs are low paying service and part time employment..
Mar 8, 2013 8:51PM
I still have a job, but the company keeps cutting our wages. Funny thing is, the more they screw the workers, the higher their stock climbs and I have all my $$ in their stock soo I guess it could be worse.
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