Unemployment rate remains stable in February, says BLS

The unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent in February Workers holding out for a new job as they continued to consolidate debt saw the unemployment rate remain unchanged into February, according to the latest Employment Situation report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

According to the survey, total nonfarm payroll employment remained mostly stable, only decreasing by 36,000 to keep the number of unemployed persons at 14.9 million and the unemployment rate at 9.7 percent for the second straight month.

Since the beginning of the recession in December 2007, payroll employment has dropped by 8.4 million.

Employment in the construction (-64,000) and information (-18,000) industries saw the notable declines for the month. However, they were offset somewhat by gains in the temporary help service industry, which added 48,000 jobs.

The number of Americans working part-time for economic reasons also increased by 500,000 during the month to hit 8.8 million.

The BLS noted that winter weather in parts of the country could have thrown off some payroll employment and hours data that was collected, due to the fact that newly unemployed workers staying home because of bad weather may not have been counted. However,it added that the effect of the storms on the data was not yet known.