BLS: Unemployment Rate Stays at 4.9%; Lonmin Cuts 5,000 Jobs

The US unemployment rate remained unchanged in February and South Africa’s Lonmin PLC said it cut 5,000 jobs due to persistently low prices.

BLS: Unemployment Rate Unchanged

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 242,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

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Most of the job gains, however, were in service industries. Employment gains occurred in healthcare and social assistance, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and private  educational services. Job losses continued in mining and other metals and manufacturing-related industries.

Lonmin Cuts 5,000 Jobs

South African-focused platinum producer Lonmin PLC said on Thursday it had trimmed its workforce by more than 5,000 in a restructuring triggered by low platinum prices.

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There was confusion over the process after South Africa’s Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) said on Wednesday that only around 75 Lonmin jobs would be lost.

Lonmin said most of the workers had left on a voluntary basis. That would have smoothed the process with AMCU, which has led violent strikes at the platinum producer in the past, including a wildcat action in 2012 that led to the police killing of 34 miners at Lonmin’s Marikana mine.

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