Payrolls surge as U.S. jobless rate falls to five-year low

Government Jobs

Government payrolls decreased by 10,000 last month. Payrolls at government agencies and the companies they contract will be further tested in 2013. At the start of the month, Congress let $85 billion in across-the-board budget cuts, known as sequestration, proceed because it couldn’t compromise on deficit reduction.

Deloitte LLP is among companies looking past the cutbacks. The firm will boost its staff by 18,000 this year, Chief Executive Officer Joe Echevarria said during a Feb. 27 interview on “Bloomberg Surveillance.” The accounting firm is hiring to support long-term growth even with the political uncertainty from Washington, he said.

A steadily improving labor market has enhanced the job- finding prospects of college seniors, who are now searching for post-graduation employment. Most of those on track to graduate from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have job offers two months before May, when they leave, said Jasmine Lawrence, 21, a computer science major who has been hired by Microsoft Corp., where she had an internship last summer.

‘Great Time’

“It is a great time for engineers right now,” said Lawrence, who said she had four offers, including one from Google Inc. and Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. “Lots of companies want to hire tech students.”

“The pay is fantastic,” Lawrence said, adding that she likes the career challenge of working with a team on the Xbox video-game consoles. My friends will all at least be making $60,000 if not going to grad schools.” The outlook for graduates is “very optimistic.”

The nation’s central bank is not yet satisfied with the U.S. jobs recovery, and today’s figures showed that part of the drop in joblessness was tied to people leaving the labor force.

Fed officials have said they will keep their benchmark lending rate near zero as long as unemployment remains above 6.5% and inflation is projected to be no more than 2.5%. They also said during a January meeting they would keep buying $40 billion per month in mortgage bonds and $45 billion in Treasuries.

“Consistent with the moderate pace of economic growth, conditions in the labor market have been improving gradually,” Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told lawmakers last week during his semiannual testimony on monetary policy. Central bank officials still want to see “substantial improvement in the outlook for the labor,” he said.

Bloomberg News

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