Data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics [BLS] show that job growth, while slow, is consistently on the upswing. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 431,000 in May, reflecting the hiring of 411,000 temporary workers for Census 2010. The unemployment rate edged down to 9.7 percent. Private-sector employment showed little change over the month [+41,000], but has increased by 495,000 since December.
"These numbers indicate that the steps this administration has taken over the past year have put the American economy on the right track," said U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. "The most recent estimates from the Council of Economic Advisers [CEA] indicate that the Recovery Act saved or created between 2.2 and 2.8 million jobs through the first quarter of 2010, and helped raise gross domestic product for a third straight quarter. The economy has added jobs in six of the last seven months.
"While we are encouraged to see the economy strengthening and employers starting to hire again, we recognize more work has to be done to ensure every American who wants a job has access to a good job. For the millions of Americans who have struggled to find work in the last year, the economy is still in a recession. As the president said on Wednesday, '[This] will not be a real recovery until people can feel it in their own lives.' The administration is continuing to work with Congress to provide further support that will ensure a rapid recovery.
"We continue to push for programs to help unemployed workers make it through this difficult time. Extending expiring unemployment benefits and health coverage is vital. I call on Congress to extend the unemployment insurance and COBRA subsidy provisions in the Recovery Act through the end of the year. The President has called on Congress to expand the clean-energy manufacturing tax credit, and to help small businesses with tax cuts and a lending fund to help them get the credit they need to create jobs.
"The Department of Labor also has taken important steps to invest in programs that retrain and prepare unemployed workers with the skills and knowledge for 21st century jobs in emerging industries like clean and renewable energy, health care and information technology.
"Many of these programs have been targeted toward populations with the greatest barriers to re-employment and areas with high levels of poverty. Recently, the department made available $90 million to the states for on-the-job training to help displaced workers gain job skills and experiences that will help them secure future employment.
"The economy and jobs situation will continue to be our No. 1 focus in the year ahead. We clearly have much more work to do to get Americans back to work, and the Department of Labor is committed to helping get our country back on track.”
CEA Chair Christina Romer shared her wide-angle view of the just-released jobs numbers. "The fact that the unemployment rate fell and private employment rose are obviously encouraging signs that recovery continues," she noted. "At the same time, the continued high level of unemployment and the slowdown in private-sector job growth emphasize the need for continuing vigilance...
"As always, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative. The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and subject to substantial revision. Emphasis should be placed on persistent trends, rather than month-to-month fluctuations."
Growth is growth. You can focus on the fact that our nation's unemployment rate is at 9.7 percent, or you can breathe a little easier that employment numbers are gradually trending upward.
We're sharing the glass-is-half-full perspective of GoodBiz113 profilee Life is good® ["Life is good® Festivals Unite Communities, Help Kids Face Unfair Challenges"], who -- just this morning, in fact -- tweeted this timely post: "We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses."
Regardless of what the weather does in your corner of the universe, have a sunny weekend :)
SOURCES: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Council of Economic Advisers [chart], U.S. Department of Labor, The White House
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