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Unemployment backtracks to 6.7%

The U.S. economy generated 175,000 jobs in February, which was well above the 149,000 rate economists expected but still below last year's average of 190,000. Also, the national unemployment rate ticked back up a notch to 6.7%, having reached a five-year low of 6.6% in January.

The long-term unemployment population -- or those jobless for 27 weeks or more -- increased in February to 3.8 million, now accounting for 37.0% of the total unemployed. This number is roughly 901,000 below year-ago levels.

Meanwhile, those employed part-time for economic reasons (or involuntary part-time workers) was little-changed at 7.2 million.

Industries that saw the biggest job gains included food services and drinking places (21,200), education and health services (33,000), administrative and waste services (41,700), and professional and business services (79,000). 

Electronics and appliance stores (-12,000), support activities for transportation (-11,900), information (-16,000) and specifically motion picture and sound recording industries (-14,100) took the biggest hits.

Meanwhile, the construction industry overall added 15,000 jobs, with residential building up 3,400 and non-residential building down 3,300. Specialty trade contractors added 2,000 jobs, though that was largely a net balance given the loss of 1,700 jobs on the residential side and gain of 3,700 jobs on the non-residential side. 

Building material and garden supply stores ticked up as well, gaining 3,000 jobs in February ahead of the busy spring season.

Manufacturing as a whole added 6,000 jobs.


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