By the numbers: Jobless claims fell to 215,000 for the week ending Feb. 26, down from 233,000 the previous week. The four-week average for claims fell by 6,000 to 230,500. Approximately 1,476,000 Americans were collecting jobless aid in the week ending Feb. 12.

Recent economic trends: “The U.S. economy has rebounded strongly from 2020′s coronavirus-caused recession. Massive government spending and the vaccine rollout jumpstarted the economy as employers added a record 6.4 million jobs last year. The U.S. economy expanded 5.7% in 2021, growing last year at the fastest annual pace since a 7.2% surge in 1984, which also followed a recession.”

Inflation still high: Inflation remains at the highest level in four decades, prompting the Fed to lean into a series of interest-rate increases that are expected to begin this month.

February jobs rose a surprisingly strong 678,000, unemployment edged lower while wages were flat

Biden to use federal purchasing power to increase U.S. manufacturing

“For each of the past nine months, manufacturers in America have had more than 800,000 open jobs in our industry—800,000 chances to launch a well-paying career,” Timmons told the audience of college students, teachers and staff, as well as local manufacturers. “In Arizona, there were more than 11,000 openings in just the first 45 days of 2022.”

Yet the state of U.S. manufacturing is, Timmons announced, resilient. “There’s hardly ever been more opportunities for future manufacturing workers. Innovators. Designers. Technicians. Creators. We’re a $2.57 trillion industry, with more than 12.5 million workers and counting. And the vast majority of manufacturing leaders say they are optimistic about the future.”