March 7 - Bad weather forced many workers to stay home in February, but the economy added more jobs than expected, especially in the services sector. Fred Katayama reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL Neither sleet nor snow nor fierce economic headwinds could stop U.S. employers from hiring many more workers than expected last month. U.S. payrolls rose 175,000, and the surprisingly weak totals for December and January were revised upward. Even the construction sector added jobs. Although the unemployment rate ticked higher to 6.7 percent, those who were working drew higher wages. The big spike in service-related jobs impressed Barclays Capital senior U.S. economist Michael Gapen. SOUNDBITE: MICAHEL GAPEN, DIRECTOR OF U.S. ECONOMIC RESEARCH AND GLOBAL ASSET ALLOCATION, BARCLAYS CAPITAL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Over the very long-term, job growth in the U.S. is going to come from the services sector. So after two relatively soft months, we had the services sector rebound and add 140,000 jobs in the month." But bad weather stained parts of the report. It forced 601,000 workers to stay home. And many who would normally work full-time worked part-time instead. The length of the average work week fell to its lowest level in three years. Looking ahead, Deloitte CFO Frank Friedman says his firm will hire 1,000 more people this year than last year, especially in the technology and regulatory areas. SOUNDBITE: FRANK FRIEDMAN, CFO, DELOITTE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This year, our year concludes in a few months, we'll hire 19,000 people. I suspect the number will be similar, may be even more next year. And we'll hire from all ages." Given the positive result for February, Gapen says the Federal Reserve will continue reducing its monetary stimulus. SOUNDBITE: MICAHEL GAPEN, DIRECTOR OF U.S. ECONOMIC RESEARCH AND GLOBAL ASSET ALLOCATION, BARCLAYS CAPITAL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "This is a number or report that says the U.S. has returned to moderate job growth despite some adverse weather we're having. Altogether, it's a fairly solid report - one that will keep the Fed on its taper track." Once temporary factors like the winter weather subsides and business work down their stockpiles, analysts say the economy should bounce back.