The United States Bureau of Labor statistics released employment figures for February today, Friday. The report says that the number of employed has increased by 227k and that employment figure is now at 8.3%. A Gallup poll yesterday had predicted unemployment would rise to 9.1% today while mos t analysts agreed on a figure of 8.3%. The increase in employment has come with analysts suggesting the level to be anywhere between 175k and 250k. The consensus number seems to have been around 250k. The unemployment rate released for January was a lower than had been expected 8.3%
The figure follows a worse than expected initial claims report yesterday and a positive ADP report earlier in the week. Both of these reports are seen as good indicators for the employment level in the country and both are viewed as great predictors of this report. Employment levels and unemployment are used by investors as a proxy for economic stability and wellness. A lowering unemployment rate as we have seen in the last few months improves confidence in the economy, the market seeing signs of recovery.
This comes in the wake of many positive economic reports lately, which suggest that the economy is back on track after a long slump following the 2008 financial crisis. Analysts had hoped that this report would continue that trend and maintain the positive outlook on the US economy. Employment is one of the key figures in the judgement of economic health and is especially important after a big recession. These figures are one of the most important releases in the month.
Politically this is also a quite important statistical release. Coming up to reelection president Obama will be hoping for an increase in employment and a decrease in the unemployed numbers. If the recovery starts to happen before the election as many analysts suggest will be the case, Obama faces an easier campaign. The Republican Party, still undecided on a candidate will be hoping the outlook remains dismal so the current president appears to be weak on this key issue. The economy is rated as the most important factor in picking a presidential candidate and eventually a president in polls. The economic situation over the Summer and early Autumn will be a large influence on how the public views the president and how the candidate opposite looks in contrast.