Nonfarm payrolls fall 36,000; jobless rate 9.7% - MarketWatch: WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - U.S. nonfarm payrolls declined for the 25th time in the past 26 months, falling by 36,000 in February to 129.5 million, the Labor Department estimated Friday. Job losses were concentrated in construction, schools, retail and publishing. Manufacturing jobs rose by 1,000, the second increase in a row. The unemployment rate was steady at 9.7%. Severe snow storms during the survey week may have depressed the payroll count, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics said it could not quantify the impact. Total hours worked fell by 0.6%, likely due to weather-related shutdowns. The employment report was better than expected, as economists surveyed by MarketWatch were forecasting a drop of 90,000. They expected the unemployment rate to rise to 9.8%.
Partial out the blizzard, and perhaps things have actually started getting better on the employment front. Perhaps.