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U.S. Economy Shows Signs of Stronger Growth this Week

Latest News > Industry News

March 4 — Numerous reports this week pointed to an improving U.S. jobs market and a possible acceleration of the national economic recovery.

The economy created 192,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in February while the unemployment rate fell slightly to 8.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported today.

The job gains occurred in manufacturing, construction, professional and business services, health care, and transportation & warehousing. During the same period, government jobs fell 30,000, which means the private sector picked up more jobs than is immediately apparent from the overall numbers.

There were a revised 63,000 jobs created in January and 152,000 created in December, according to BLS reports. Government jobs declined 5,000 in January.

In addition, initial jobless claims fell some 20,000 for the week of February 26, said the U.S. Department of Labor. It was the third week in the last four that initial claims were under 400,000, a further indication of an easing labor situation. Continuing claims are also moving lower, according the Labor Department report.

Earlier in the week, the ADP Employment Report, which includes only private sector jobs and is based on records from Automatic Data Processing, Inc., estimated that private payrolls rose 217,000 in February. These jobs are in addition to some 189,000 new private jobs created in January, according to ADP.

The Monster Employment Index of online job recruitment also rose sharply in February. The Index, based on analysis of online job demand, rose 7 points to 129 last month. The Index had dipped in January from earlier highs through much of last year. The annual growth rate is now 4%, according to Monster Worldwide. All 28 metro markets included in the report experienced positive growth in February.

"Sustained expansionary trends in private sector hiring coupled with growing consumer confidence have led to positive year-over-year growth in the Index" said Jesse Harriott, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer at Monster Worldwide. "Although Index growth has eased since the early summer peak of 2010 due in part to a decline in public sector activity, it has been positive year-over-year since February 2010 as employers continue to maintain a measured approach to growth."

In other economic news this week:
  • Economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February for the 19th consecutive month, and the overall economy grew for the 21st consecutive month, according to the latest Manufacturing ISM Report from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM).

    Of the 18 manufacturing industries included in the report, 14 reported growth in February. Among components of the Index, new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, backlogs and exports all increased. Prices rose and inventories declined. Imports remained unchanged from January.
  • Housing and construction continue to struggle, as indicated by the latest reports. Overall construction spending was down 2.5% month over month and down 6.4% year over year, reports the U.S. Census Bureaus
  • The February National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales Index fell 2.8% versus January. The Index is down 1.5% from a year ago.

Read the BLS Employment Situation news release.

Read the ADP Employment Index report.

Read the Monster Employment Index report.

Read the ISM Manufacturing report.

Read the Census Bureau construction spending news release.