US unemployment drops further, but figures disappoint
Apr 6, 2012, 13:19 GMT
Washington - The US unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 per cent in March, the lowest in nearly three years, according to data released Friday. However, a relatively slight increase in new jobs disappointed analysts.
The US Bureau of Labour Statistics said Friday that the economy had added only 120,000 jobs, short of the 200,000 or more that had been projected by analysts, based on rising consumer optimism and other factors.
The number of unemployed stayed at 12.7 million, the same as in February, when the unemployment rate was 8.3 per cent. That figure includes 5.3 million long-term unemployed. Additionally, there are still millions of others who have given up looking for work and no longer appear in the statistics, analysts say.
Despite the dropping jobless rate, the flat rate of job growth and overall sluggishness of the economy are large factors in November's presidential elections. The likely Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, earlier this week charged that President Barack Obama, the Democrat running for re-election, has contributed to US economic ruin.
Obama took office in early 2009, in the midst of the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. But after nearly four years in office, his argument that the economic slide took place under his Republican predecessor rings hollow to his critics.
Read more about US Labour