WASHINGTON — The unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent — a nearly two-year low after the government added 192,000 jobs last month. Federal government hiring was flat.
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Video below showing the Black unemployment issues in East St. Louis, Illinois
African-American unemployment dipped to 15.3, while black teen unemployment declined sharply to 38.4 percent, but remains the highest of any group.
Private employers added 222,000 jobs last month, the most since April. That shows that companies are feeling more confident in the economy and about their own financial prospects. And it bolstered hopes that businesses will shift into a more aggressively hiring mode and boost the economic recovery.
The unemployment rate is now at the lowest point since April 2009. It has been falling for three months, down from 9.8 percent in November, marking the sharpest three-month decline since 1983.
The number of unemployed people dipped to 13.7 million, still almost double since before the recession.
When factoring in the number of part-time workers who would rather be working full time and those who have given up looking for work, the percentage of “underemployed” people dropped to 15.9 percent in February. That’s the lowest in nearly two years.
The positive news on the hiring front comes as the larger economy is gaining momentum.
Americans shoppers are spending more. U.S. exporters are selling more abroad. Manufacturing is growing at the fastest pace in nearly seven years. And the service sector, which employs about 90 percent of the work force, is expanding at the fastest clip in more than five years.