December job numbers redux

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unemployment numbers

Dropping to 9.4 percent in December, the nation’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest level since April 2009, according to the Labor Department’s employment situation report for December. Good news, yes? Well…

While much of that .4 percent decrease represents those people who are no longer unemployed (yay!), it also represents those people who gave up their job search last month (boo!).

Also according to the report, employers added 103,000 jobs last month. Good news, yes? Well…

While this was more than double the number of jobs added in November (yay!), it fell far below economists’ expectations (boo!).

Here are the highlights from the report:

  • Private employers added 113,000 jobs, while the Government shed 10,000 jobs.
  • The number of unemployed persons dropped by 556,000 to 14.5 million in December.
  • Looking at specific industries, employment rose in leisure and hospitality, which added 36,000 jobs, and in health care, which added 29,000 jobs.
  • Retailers added 12,000 jobs and manufacturers added 10,000 jobs. Job losses continued, however, in contruction, which cut 16,000 jobs.
  • Average hourly earnings for nonfarm workers increased 3 cents to $22.78.

A year in progress: 2010 vs. 2009
A still-over-9-percent unemployment rate is certainly nothing to brag about (not that anyone is trying); however, compared to where we were a year ago, the difference between the economy of 2009 and the economy of today is like the difference between Jersey Shore’s Jwoww of season one and the Jwoww of today – not a total train wreck, but a vast improvement. Take a look at the progress from the past 12 months…

  • The economy added 1.1 million jobs in 2010
  • The unemployment rate decreased from 10 percent in December 2009 to 9.4 percent in December 2010.
  • The number of unemployed persons went down from 15.3 million this time last year to 14.5 million today.
  • Average hourly earnings have increased by 1.8 percent in 2010.

Good things to come in 2011…
While there’s still a long way to go, economists and employers alike predict that 2011 will be an even better year than 2010 in terms of job growth and employment. So, if there’s one thing to keep in mind as you continue your search for a new or better job in 2011, it’s this: Be open to new possibilities.

While job growth overall is expected, some geographic areas are showing faster growth than others and the same goes for some industries over others.

It will only help your chances of scoring a bigger, better paycheck if you stay open to the possibility of relocation and leverage your transferrable skills to apply for jobs in other fields.  Also, don’t discount temporary work, either – not only is hiring for temporary jobs and contract work among employers’ major plans this year, but temporary jobs often lead to full-time work as well.

(And, of course, it always helps to have a golden voice to fall back on.)

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One Comment
  1. Pingback: Freshers Yaar! » Blog Archive » Unemployment rates by state

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