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Jobs Report

Employers Add 236K Jobs ; Jobless Rate Drops to 7.7%

Employers added 236,000 jobs in February, far more than analysts had expected, offering some much-needed momentum to the long-sluggish U.S. labor market.The headline unemployment rate dropped to four-year low of 7.7% last month, down from 7.9% in January.Construction jobs led the way, as they have for several months, adding 48,000 jobs in February, according to figures released by the U.S. Labor Department. Recovery efforts from Superstorm Sandy in the fall have provided a lot of work in that sector.Economists had forecast a gain of 160,000 with the unemployment rate predicted to hold steady at 7.9%.The report could have gone either way, as some economists had suggested measures taken in Washington, D.C., in recent months could have impacted the report negatively. Sequestration, or $43 billion in mandated budget cuts in fiscal year 2013, kicked in last week, and a 2% payroll tax increase has taken a few hundred dollars a month out of most Americans' paychecks.Neither seems to have had ...

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