Friday, the Labor Department reported that February showed promising signs for the U.S. economy. Though unemployment lingered at 8.3 percent—February was the first month since August that the jobless rate did not drop—the economy added 227,000 jobs. Key industries showed improvement with manufacturing adding 31,000 jobs and temporary employment (a strong indicator for future full-time positions) rising with 45,000 jobs. The report also showed that December and January added 61,000 more jobs than originally estimated.
The report was positive news for the Obama administration, whose re-election may hinge on whether the economy continues to improve through November. However, not all aspects of the report were good. The economy lost jobs in government and construction, and unemployment remains disproportionately high among blacks, Hispanics, and young people, key blocs of Obama's 2008 support. His GOP 2012 rivals continue their attacks on his performance the White House, now focusing on rising gas prices—slated to exceed a national average of $4 per gallon in the coming months—that may cripple the already sluggish recovery.
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