US boosted by stronger employment figures

Lower-than-expected job-loss figures in the United States yesterday gave the American economy a fillip and provided world stock markets with a boost.

The US Labor Department said that non-farm payrolls fell by 36,000 in February, well below economists' expectations of a drop of between 50,000 and 75,000. Analysts had feared the worst for February's figures because the severe snowstorms that affected much of the country kept many workers at home, depressing payroll figures. The statistics will be welcomed by President Obama, who has made tackling unemployment his number-one economic priority. However, the joblessness rate in the US remains stubbornly high, at 9.7 per cent.