US payrolls fall by less than feared

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US payrolls fall by less than feared

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Heavy winter storms had an impact on the United States jobs market last month, but it not as much as feared. US employers cut 36,000 workers in February.

Economists had expected the snowstorms in large areas of the US would have caused a drop in payrolls of up to 50,000.

The unemployment rate was unchanged from January at 9.7 percent of the working population.

The US Labor Department also revised downwards the number of job lost during December and January by 35,000.

The figures confirmed a continued gradual improvement.

The pace of layoffs has slowed markedly from early last year when the economy was losing 750,000 jobs on average each month.

Job growth is crucial to sustain the economic recovery.

People who are worried about being laid off spend less, which could cause economic growth to stall.

However US retailers have just posted their strongest monthly sales performance since before the start of the recession in December 2007.