Friday, October 5, 2012

September Jobs Report

For the first time in nearly four years, the official unemployment rate has fallen below 8% to 7.8%. The economy added 114,000 jobs in September, up from estimates, and numbers from the previous two months were also adjusted upwards by nearly 100,000 each, giving a sizable boost to the outlook of our economy.

What's even better about these numbers is that the unemployment rate fell for the right reasons. In the August report, released a month ago, the unemployment rate dropped because more people gave up looking for work. In this new set of data, the unemployment dropped because more people found work, and more people reentered the workforce and were hired. That's huge. Combined with slight gains in housing, investments, and some slow loosening on borrowing by the banks, things are starting to pick up again.

Of course, this is only one month of data, and taken in context, it's still a slow recovery. But here's the point: we're in recovery. It might be slow. Congress isn't helping by being unable to come to an agreement on anything, but we're growing in spite of that. This is good news.

Even if these numbers are slightly off the mark, optimism is a commodity we have had little of recently. Official unemployment numbers, while they may be suspect in their accuracy, still manage to inspire people, and that inspiration is going to help with confidence in the marketplace. The more people that start working, the more money they have to spend, and the cycle just goes from there. And, as an aside, we still haven't seen an increase in hiring for the holiday season. Many retail places hire extra staff starting in mid-November, and keep those jobs right through to the new year. That boost has resulted in big gains for the economy in the past few years, and this year will hopefully be no different.

Fingers crossed (again) that we continue to see growth and gains in the economy!

UPDATE: As you might expect, there are a lot of people questioning these numbers. For example, if there were 114K jobs created, why does a separate government report claim that over 800,000 people found work last month? Some people, like the folks at the Blaze, are trying to make hay out of this by insisting the the administration altered the numbers.

In reality, it's very easy to have more new workers than jobs created. And, it's a great trend. The reason for this is that there are literally millions of vacant job openings all over the country. This shows that, not only are jobs being created, but more than that number are being filled. In addition, this trend seems to indicate that more people are looking for work and finding it, another good trend. So, don't think that these numbers don't make sense. They do, and they are positive.

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