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By Jason Stipp | 03-05-2010 10:02 AM

Jobs Weather the Storm

The employment picture holds steady in February despite bad weather, and several signs are building for continued improvement.

Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp with Morningstar. The government released its employment report this morning, and despite worries about weather wreaking havoc with numbers, the employment situation was holding pretty steady. About 36,000 jobs were lost, and the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7%.

Here with me to dig into the numbers is Morningstar's Bob Johnson, he's associate director of economic analysis. And Vishnu Lekraj, he's an employment sector analyst for Morningstar.com. Thanks for joining me, guys.

Vishnu Lekraj: Thank you.

Bob Johnson: Great to be here.

Stipp: First question for you, Vishnu, maybe you should have a future as a meteorologist. You were saying yesterday that probably the weather's not going to have a huge effect on this. It turned out not to have a big effect, so what did we learn today on that?

Lekraj: We learned that when they calculate the numbers, it's a little different than what everyone thinks. Everyone looks back at past history and tries to extrapolate that out. I think one of the big lessons we've learned is that the administration, the press, a little bit, likes to build a big story throughout the week, so they get hits on the websites, views on the television, and things like that.

But when you break the numbers down, when you thought logically about what will happen and how they calculate the numbers, I came to the conclusion that there wasn't going to be a huge effect and there was not.

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