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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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News Release

OPA News Release: [03/08/2013]
Contact Name: Bennett Gamble
Phone Number: (202) 693-4667
Release Number: 13-0435-NAT

Statement of acting Labor Secretary Seth D. Harris on February employment numbers

WASHINGTON — Acting Secretary of Labor Seth D. Harris issued the following statement about the February 2013 Employment Situation report released today.

"This morning's report shows a resilient economy continuing to recover. The economy added 236,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs last month. February marks three uninterrupted years of private sector employment growth, with a total of 6.4 million jobs created over that time.

"The economy is fighting back, but we can do better. We can accelerate the recovery by acting on President Obama's agenda to build a strong American economy from the middle class out rather than the top down – making America a magnet for new jobs, equipping workers with the skills to succeed in those jobs and making sure that hard work leads to a decent living.

"The economy is poised for even more significant growth, but Congress should not hold it back. We can't cut our way to prosperity. Deficit reduction alone is not an economic strategy or a jobs plan. It's time for members of both parties in Congress to work together on a balanced deficit reduction plan and invest in the middle class — the engine of America's economic growth.

"The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 7.7 percent, the sixth straight month under 8 percent and the lowest level since December 2008.

"Growth was strong across economic sectors. Construction continued a 9-month growth trend, adding 48,000 jobs, the highest monthly increase since March 2007. Since January 2011, the economy has created 349,000 new construction jobs. Professional and business services added 73,000 new jobs and retail trade increased by 24,000 jobs."