Employment Figures Show “We’re Clearly On The Recovery Path”

I’m sure unemployment will remain a problem for a while, but at least we do have some good news:

After more than two years in which over 8 million jobs were lost, the country’s nonfarm payrolls surged in March.

Employers added 162,000 jobs last month, and employment numbers in the previous two months were revised upward. Nationwide, the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent.

To many ordinary, out-of-work Americans, the recovery may finally start to feel real.

“The key message from this report is that we’ve finally turned the corner,” said Nigel Gault, chief United States economist at IHS Global Insight. “Going forward, we should expect things to strengthen further over the rest of the year.”

Speaking in Charlotte, N.C., President Obama called Friday’s report “the best news we’ve seen on the job front in more than two years.”

“The tough measures that we took, measures that were necessary even if sometimes they were unpopular, have broken this slide and are helping us to climb out of the recession,” President Obama said, adding a note of caution. “It will take time to achieve the strong and sustained job growth that we need.”

Steve Benen summarized the Bush versus Obama record on jobs with this graph:

This shows how conditions were improving during the first year of Obama’s administration, but this is the best report yet. Some of these jobs came from temporary census workers, but in addition,  “every major industry, except financial services and information, showed gains in employment.”

Bloomberg News adds (emphasis mine):

“There’s a lot of good news in this report,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates Inc. in St. Petersburg, Florida, whose payroll forecast was the closest among the economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. “We’re clearly on the recovery path. We expect to see this continue to build. We’re on our way.”

Caterpillar Inc. is among companies adding staff, indicating the economic recovery that began in the second half of 2009 is starting to produce the jobs needed to lift consumer spending and sustain the expansion. Nonetheless, unemployment may be slow to recede as more people enter the job market, giving the Federal Reserve scope to hold its benchmark interest rate near zero in coming months.

I expect that unemployment will continue to be a problem, as it has been after other recent recessions.  One problem is that the recession led many companies to either go under or shut down divisions,  with no jobs remaining for when the economy recovers. In addition, many companies now respond to down turns by changing their business model to save money, permanently eliminating or out-sourcing jobs.  It is still a good sign, despite Republican spin,  that the catastrophic employment numbers under George Bush turned around under Obama.

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3 Comments

  1. 1
    Jason Monastra says:

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  2. 2
    Brett Robinson says:

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  3. 3
    Emily Hicks says:

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