U.S. Unemployment Falls to Lowest Rate in Four Years

The unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent from 7.9 percent in February, the lowest it has been since President Barack Obama took office, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

The report — compiled before sequestration took effect — notes that the private economy added 236,000 jobs. Increases were seen in professional and business services, construction, and health care.

“The unemployment rate edged down to 7.7 percent in February but has shown little movement, on net, since September 2012. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.0 million, also edged lower in February,” the report reads.

Here’s unemployment broken up by group:

  • Men: 7.1 percent
  • Adult women: 7.0 percent
  • Teenagers: 25.1 percent
  • Whites: 6.8 percent
  • Blacks: 13.8 percent
  • Hispanics: 9.6 percent
  • Asians: 6.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted)

The number of people on long-term unemployment (i.e those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more) in February was about 4.8 million. This accounts for 40.2 of total unemployment, which is an increase from last month’s 38.1 percent.

The civilian labor force participation rate and the number of people employed part-time were both essentially unchanged from January: The former coming in at about 63.5 percent and the latter at about 8.0 million.

“In February, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, the same as a year earlier,” the report notes. “These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.”

“They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey,” it adds.

It continues:

Among the marginally attached, there were 885,000 discouraged workers in February, down slightly from a year earlier … Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

The remaining 1.7 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Markets liked what they heard and continued their week-long ascent on Friday:

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

Featured image courtesy Getty Images