Hopefully, the term “jobless recovery” soon won’t be an accurate description of how the U.S. is emerging from The Great Recession. After years of nothing but negative employment numbers and anemic hiring trends, 2011 has brought comparatively good news for the job market thus far.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics‘ monthly jobs report, the economy created 244,000 jobs in April, for a total of 768,000 jobs added since the first of the year. April’s job gain also far surpassed the increase of 185,000 jobs predicted by economists.
While public sector hiring is still experiencing a downward trend — government jobs decreased by 24,000 last month, largely due to spending cuts at the state and local levels — the private sector is more than compensating. In April, private sector hiring increased by 268,000 jobs, the largest monthly gain since February 2006. Since February 2010, private businesses have added 2.1 million jobs — 854,000 of which have been added since the start of 2011.
The unemployment rate did jump slightly to 9 percent last month, .2 percent higher than in March, but still .8 percent lower than in November 2010. According to CNN, the increase can partially be attributed to larger labor force participation — an additional 113,000 people entered the labor force last month, a sign that more of the population is hopeful about their job prospects.
Still need more convincing that the job market is headed in the right direction? Here are three more indicators released in the last month, all of which show positive trends.
1. Online job postings are at pre-recession levels: According to The Conference Board’smonthly “Help Wanted Online” survey, the number of online job postings in April was consistent with pre-recession levels. In April 2011, there were 4.32 million job openings listed on the Internet, while in April 2007, there were 4.47 million jobs posted. This is up from a low point of 2.78 million two years ago, in April 2009.
2. Announced layoffs are declining: A monthly survey on layoffs by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas found that, in April, employers announced plans to cut 36,490 jobs, a 12 percent drop from the 41,528 layoffs that were announced in March and the lowest number so far this year. To date, employers have announced 167,239 job cuts this year, down 24 percent from the 219,209 layoffs announced by this time last year.
3. CEOs plan to increase headcount: CEOs in numerous industries are planning to hire, according to a survey by the Young Presidents’ Organization, a nonprofit, worldwide group of chief executives. The results of the survey found that, globally, 44 percent of CEOs in the services sector, 34 percent of those in manufacturing and 39 percent of those in construction plan to grow headcount by at least 10 percent in the next 12 months.
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