You may recall our optimistic prediction in November that the positive trending in the labor market pointed to net jobs growth by Christmas. Revised government numbers on Friday bolstered that assertion.
Further it is now clear that for job seekers in 2010, the economy will likely be their friend. With a 5.7% GDP growth in the fourth quarter of 2009, following the 2.2% increase in the third quarter, this recovery is already stronger than the last two.
Furthermore, (as our updated chart illustrates) the U.S. labor market is on the cusp of substantial, sustained positive job growth. And this net jobs creation is coming only two quarters after the end of our deep recession. That's just one-third of the 21 months it took for job growth to resume after the 2001 recession. A jobless recovery? Not this time. As our chart suggests, given current trending, the U.S economy will likely add more than 100,000 jobs in February. And the picture looks even better come springtime.
The government's monthly jobs report on Friday showed that the disastrous labor situation that plagued the nation's economy going into 2009 is now on the mend. The unemployment rate has peaked and now fallen in January to 9.7%.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign from the current report was the addition of 52,000 temporary workers. Temporary worker hiring often signals that employers are starting to gear up again.
Additionally -- the report shows -- employers brought many "reduced hour" workers back to full-time work status in January. That concrete move is frequently seen as a precursor to hiring additional workers as recovery takes root.
Even cautious economists like Mark Vitner of Wells Fargo remarked on Friday that despite his opinion that the January falling unemployment rate "showed an exaggerated sense of improvement in labor market," he continued, "But there is improvement. I don't want to take that away."