Good news for local and national employment - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

Good news for local and national employment

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The Labor Department says employers added 175,000 jobs in February, and the figure  is a welcome surprise.

In a string of recent reports WBTV learned that harsh winter weather lowered car sales, caused existing-home sales to plummet, and kept businesses closed for weeks on end, so the nation was bracing itself for more bad news.

But employers surprised us, stirring hopes that the economy could accelerate beyond expectations in 2014.

Last month's gain of 175,000 jobs does come with a slight rise in the unemployment rate to 6.7% from a five-year low of 6.6%.

But economists say the increase is due to the fact that more people began seeking jobs, and they say more job hunters means more people are feeling optimistic again.

The positive national news coincides with some good local news, too.

Insurance giant AIG plans to create 230 jobs here in Mecklenburg County, and it will build a technology center to house them, investing $5.5 million in the area in all. AIG says it plans to launch the operation this year - all without asking for any incentives from local taxpayers.

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