The unemployment figures for February were better than expected, with 14,000 jobs added to the manufacturing sector, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“February’s jobs numbers represent a good start, but there is still much more work to be done. Policymakers need to continue to focus on making the business environment as pro-growth as possible,” National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) chief economist Chad Moutray wrote Friday.
The economy added 236,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in February, significantly higher than the estimated 155,000. The unemployment rate in February twas 7.7 percent, down from 7.9 percent in January.
While the 14,000 manufacturing jobs added in February is higher than the expectation, Moutray notes that more is still needed to see a full recovery.
“[I]t is clear that we could definitely see even better job growth,” Moutray writes. “It’s important to note some of the gains in manufacturing employment were offset by losses in several sectors. We need to see growth across all sectors of manufacturing if we are going to turn the corner and create 20,000 jobs each month.”
Improvements in the manufacturing industry were met with continued frustration over the U.S. fiscal situation and only modest growth in new orders and exports.
“In addition, the most recent Beige Book [from the Federal Reserve] noted that some manufacturers were citing regulations and the Affordable Care Act as reasons for restrained hiring,” Moutray notes.
The positive unemployment news follows stark warnings from the president about the federal spending cuts forced by sequestration.
“It is important to bear in mind that the reference period for today’s surveys was the week of February 10-16 for the household survey and the pay period containing February 12th for the establishment survey, both of which were before sequestration began,” Alan Krueger, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said.
The president had warned the cuts would cause “severe harm.”
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