Saturday, 6 March 2010

US employment falls less than expected, consumer credit rises

US employment continued to fall in February but by less than expected. MarketWatch reports:

U.S. nonfarm payrolls declined for the 25th time in the past 26 months, falling by 36,000 in February to a seasonally adjusted 129.5 million, the Labor Department estimated Friday.

The nation's jobless rate was steady at 9.7% as the number of people employed rose by 308,000, according to the household survey.

Severe snowstorms during the survey week may have depressed the payroll count, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics said it could not quantify the impact...

The February employment report was better than expected, as economists surveyed by MarketWatch had forecast a drop of 90,000. They expected the unemployment rate to rise to 9.8%.

In another sign that the US economy is recovering, consumer credit has begun rising. Bloomberg reports:

Borrowing by U.S. consumers unexpectedly rose in January for the first time in a year, led by auto and student loans, a sign Americans are gaining confidence in the economy.

Consumer credit increased $5 billion, or 2.4 percent at an annual rate, the Federal Reserve said today in Washington. Borrowing dropped $4.6 billion in December, more than first estimated. The figures track credit card debt and non-revolving loans, including those for automobile purchases.

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