We've been hearing the latest employment numbers show things moving in a positive direction, but the economy and jobs market are still weak. That's, of course, a major factor in an election year. Our friend from the business world, Joe Nocera, joins us. He's an op-ed columnist for the New York Times. Joe, thanks for being with us.
JOE NOCERA: Thanks for having me, Scott.
SIMON: As we heard, of course, the economy added more jobs in February than economists had expected. Is this a trend or true stability?
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. One year ago this weekend, Japan was battered by a devastating earthquake and tsunami. One of the places hardest hit was the coastal community of Yuriage. What was once a beautiful fishing village, and home to a bustling community of thousands, is now a desolate and deserted place. Doualy Xaykaothao reported from there shortly after the earthquake, and has just returned to file this report.
Host Scott Simon reports on the other candidates for the Republican nomination for president: Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul. This week, they've been campaigning in the South and Midwest in the hunt for votes and nominating delegates.
The American job market is still a long way from healthy, but its pulse feels a lot stronger now than it did six months ago. The Labor Department says employers added 227,000 workers to their payrolls in February, a solid — if not spectacular — performance. It continues a trend that suggests a genuine recovery, not a temporary blip.
The unemployment rate held steady at 8.3 percent, even as nearly 500,000 people joined the workforce.
Improvement in the job market is a boon for President Obama as he tries to hold onto his own job in November.
Ready for some creative competition? Weekends on All Things Considered is launching Round 8 of its Three-Minute Fiction contest. Here's what we look for: original, short fiction that can be read in less than three minutes — that's no more than 600 words.