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Economic optimism grows as US adds jobs

Posted March 9, 2012

Economy
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— Although the national unemployment rate hasn't moved much, the U.S. economy has added almost 750,000 jobs in the last three months, prompting a growing sense of optimism about the health of the economy.

Employers added 227,000 jobs in February to complete three of the best months of hiring since the recession ended, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate remained at 8.3 percent – the lowest level in three years – but officials said that shows more people are streaming back into the workforce to look for jobs.

Recent surveys by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Duke University and CFO Magazine all found business leaders think the economy is trending up, and more businesses plan to hire this year.

"In our survey of business leaders across the country, we found optimists now outnumber pessimists by almost a two-to-one margin, which is a striking change from six months ago. So, certainly there is more hope out there," AICPA spokesman Jonathan Cox said.

An Elon University Poll released Friday shows that 34 percent of North Carolina residents expect the national economy to improve this year. The positive sentiment has more than doubled since the same question was asked in a poll last fall. Likewise, the number of respondents who expect the state economy to improve this year doubled, from 11 to 26 percent.

Cox says confidence is rising, but it's still fragile. Business leaders are worried that high gas prices could hurt retail sales, Cox said, and they're also concerned about health care costs.

"We're certainly not out of the woods yet, and there are still some issues to watch, but it seems as if things are headed in the right direction for now," he said.

High school students at a Wake County career expo said they hope that's the case.

"I was looking for a job myself, and it really has been hard trying to find one," said Najee Fevecque, a senior at Panther Creek High School.

Fevecque was among 600 high school students who attended at program at Wake Technical Community College on Friday to prepare them for a career. The students networked with recruiters, learned how to dress for work and even present their resumes to local executives in mock interviews.

Amy Schroeder, career development coordinator at Athens Drive High School, said one in four teens looking for a job can't find one. So, they need all the help they can get.

"Businesses are still making connections, saying, 'Hey, we've got some part-time jobs,' but it certainly has been difficult," Schroeder said.

The national jobless report also showed that only 14.9 percent of the U.S. labor force is underemployed – people are working fewer hours than they want or are at jobs for which they're overqualified – which is the lowest that figure has been in three years.

12 Comments

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  • primalinstinct1 Mar 13, 2012

    Liberal math...about as accurate as I am picking PowerBall numbers. If these people spent as much time trying to create jobs as they do trying to blame someone else, something good could be accomplished. Instead, they just make matters worse. Do you think its intentional? Nahhhh....

  • dontstopnow Mar 12, 2012

    it is all "too little too late" for a lot of people that have lost everything including their homes! This is government controlled and operated so anyone that believes otherwise is not listening how things seem to turn around in an election year and go to heck in a handbag from then until the next election. Makes you wonder if they are really doing it deliberately???? Just saying.

  • Chairman of the Bored Mar 9, 2012

    The fact of the matter is that all graph indicator lines show improvement from the worst depression in history caused by our last President. Most people know that it is more than an off/on switch to fix things. It takes time to fix the worst recession in history. President Cheney and his sidekick took America in to 2 wars, and failed to put the cost of those wars in to the budget. The economy tanked and they failed to act in any responsible manner.

  • geosol Mar 9, 2012

    "'Smoke and mirrors,' 'the real numbers,' or 'liberal media lies?' (They can't use Christmas hiring for another 6 months) Who wants to start a pool on the first hater's post ;)"
    I'll take "librul media lies" for $500, Alex! That one NEVER gets old!

  • WooHoo2You Mar 9, 2012

    What about the participation rate? Lowest ever...-vraptor

    Record retiring baby bombers that we have been 'warned about' for years?

    WWII ended in 1945 + the 65 year retirement age = 2010....what started around that time with the "participation rate?"

  • ncman22 Mar 9, 2012

    It's Bush's fault!

  • quikdraw2 Mar 9, 2012

    I AGREE WITH WOOHOO2YOU. ALTHOUGH I HAVE A STABLE JOB - FOR NOW - MY RETIREMENT FUNDS ARE GOING TO H. SO I EITHER HAVE TO SAY TO H WITH IT ALL,GO BE HOMELESS, OR WORK UNTIL I DROP DEAD. DECEPTION IS WHAT I SEE.

  • Chairman of the Bored Mar 9, 2012

    'Smoke and mirrors,'

    Heaven forbid they were discussing this on Fox Business News this afternoon, and FOX even had their own research which stated that CEOs were "optimistic" about hiring and purchasing and the economy really starting to grow again.

    Oh well. So sad that we can't continue to keep people unemployed longer and the cost of living high as the Republicans want to do.

  • acc_rules Mar 9, 2012

    If the rate hasn't changed then why would I adopt a sense of optimism? Because it's an election year and the media tells me to?

  • WooHoo2You Mar 9, 2012

    'Smoke and mirrors,' 'the real numbers,' or 'liberal media lies?' (They can't use Christmas hiring for another 6 months) Who wants to start a pool on the first hater's post ;)

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