Gee, this is kind of exciting. As a West Coaster, I haven’t in the past usually been awake (or caffeinated) when these monthly jobs reports come out. It’s kinda like waiting for the moment test results or March Madness pairings come out.
At any rate, the February jobs report shows 227,000 new jobs, unemployment steady at 8.3% (many had expected the rate to tick up thanks to discouraged workers returning to the labor pool), workforce participation rates up slightly. Job gains were pretty general across the private sector economy, and for the first time in ages, government employment was steady rather than rapidly dropping. The December and January jobs numbers were revised upward as well, reinforcing the sense that a recovery could be under way.
In terms of the political impact (this is, after all, the Political Animal), it’s worth remembering Nate Silver’s “magic number” of an average monthly jobs gain of 150,000–his calculation of what Obama would need between now and Election Day to put himself in a solid position for re-election. 2012 is definitely off to a good start.