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Unemployment rate flat – still good news?

According to the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday, March 9th 2012 report, the Unemployment rate held steady at 8.3%.

This may seem not to be good news, however, 227,000 jobs were added in Feburary, compared with 243,000 in January when the unemployment rate decreased.    With the economy strengthening, many people that were not looking for work are now looking for work.  These are individuals were previously were considered “discouraged workers”.    Discouraged workers are those that felt there were no jobs in the workplace  for them, then stopped looking and were no longer counted as unemployed.

This included many older and younger workers, who often have a more difficult time.   With more workers entering back in the the workplace and also looking for work again, the pool of unemployed is larger.

If the number of jobs being added is the same combined with more workers re-entering the workforce, the jobless rate may not go down.    This may occur in some months and may be a short term phenomenon.      The jobs added figure is often the most important figure and the primary figure in gauging the which direction the economy is headed in.