Although the unemployment rate has hit a four year low of 7.7%, the number of Americans not in the labor force has reached a record high of 89.3 million. On March 8, 2013, Money News has reported on a Thomson/Reuters story, Unemployment Drops to 4-Year Low of 7.7% as More People Stop Looking for Work.
Employers have stepped up hiring in February, adding a greater-than-expected 236,000 workers to their payrolls and therefore helping to push the jobless rate to a four year-low. Jacob Oubina, a senior U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York, has said, "This was a strong number and one of those rare cases where we were firing on all cylinders." The jobless rate is reported to have fallen to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, from 7.9 percent in January. However, the decline has reflected both gains in employment and people leaving the labor force.
Nelson D. Schwartz and Binyamin Appelbaum have reported for The New York Times, Unemployment at 4-Year Low as U.S. Hiring Gains Steam. Although there was a better-than-expected jobs report on Friday which has pointed to an acceleration in growth, analysts have warned that stronger employment gains are being put at risk by sequestration, which is the automatic spending cuts being imposed by the federal government. However, not everything in the picture was brighter, with a cause for concern being the continued shrinkage of the labor force, which had 130,000 fewer workers in February. Many discouraged workers have dropped out of the work force.