US Jobs Report – Feb 2012

Some observations:

– improved labor participation rate
– improved employment/population ratio                                                                               [comment: better quality of the headline unemployment rate]

– shorter overall unemployment duration                                                                               [comment: together with the above, indicated optimism as more returned to labor force]

– uptrend in temporary help services hiring                                                                     [comment: positive, increased potential for permanent hiring]

– noted healthcare as the major hiring sector, while construction (non-residential specialty) suffered high job loss
– noted construction, leisure, and prof/biz services hv double-digit unemployment rates     – diffusion index dropped to below 60 from over 70                                                                     [comment: uneven job growth among industries. If prolonged, may require further investigation into possible structural change of the economy.]

– mild decrease of “forced” part-time workers in non-agricultural sector
– Avg weekly hours flat                                                                                                         [comment: slightly positive, serving as a reminder that despite recent improvement, the job growth is still slow and vulnerable to external shocks.]

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