The following commentary comes from an independent investor or market observer as part of TheStreet's guest contributor program, which is separate from the company's news coverage.NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The economy added 227,000 jobs in February, down from 284,000 in January and unemployment rate remained 8.3%. Going forward unemployment is not likely to fall much further and may rise again. Fourth-quarter growth was exceptionally strong as the global economy recovered from first-half disruptions such as the earthquake in Japan, but going forward economists expect growth to slow to about 2%. Higher gas prices have halted the growth in consumer spending since November, and continued outsourcing from China and elsewhere in Asia is limiting jobs gains from resurgent manufacturing.
The situation with the yuan is the single largest impediment to more robust growth in manufacturing and its broader multiplier effects for the rest of the economy. The Obama administration indicated over the holidays it has no intention of challenging China on this issue and it enjoys the unlikely support of Speaker John Boehner. Government employment was down 6,000 as private sector jobs added 233,000. Lower property values translate into lower assessments and property values with considerable lag in most communities, and in 2012, the housing recession will significantly reduce local tax receipts and employment. Coupled with federal budget cutbacks, government employment should fall by about 10,000 a month through the end of the year. Factoring in discouraged adults and others working part time for lack of full-time opportunities, the unemployment rate is about 14.9%. Adding college graduates in low-skill positions, like counterwork at Starbucks, and the unemployment rate is closer to 18%.