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Jobs Come Bouncing Back

Good news, America. Jobs are coming back. 

Slowly, to be sure. And the monthly jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is likely the most over-hyped and misunderstood piece of data in existence. 

But here's what we've got: 165,000 jobs were created in April, pushing the unemployment rate down to 7.5% -- the lowest in five years -- even while the overall labor force increased. February and March's employment numbers were revised up by more than 100,000. With revisions, it now looks like more jobs were created in February than in any other month 2005. 

Averaging together six months of jobs reports to weed out the noise, here's where we stand: 

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

And here's a look at the various ways unemployment is calculated:

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

This is shaping up into a decent-looking picture. Are jobs growing fast enough? No. But the pace of job creation does seem to be accelerating. At the current trend of jobs growth, the unemployment rate will be about 6.8% a year from now, and 5% by mid-2015 or so. That is disastrous, given that the recession began in late 2007. But we are making progress. Slowly, and agonizingly. But it's there. 

Read/Post Comments (13) | Recommend This Article (17)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On May 03, 2013, at 1:10 PM, SoquelCreek wrote:

    There's definitely movement in the right direction on job growth. However, I think there's much more the story.

    The civilian participation rate (EMRATIO) remains stubbornly flat at near its lowest level in a generation--this after spending $787 BILLION in Stimulus.


    The average duration of unemployment (UEMPMEAN), while off its record peak, is still over 70% higher than the previous record peak set in the early 1980s. Apparently, there are a large number of long-term unemployed people. Granted, up to 99 weeks of federal unemployment benefits likely encouraged people to "keep looking."


    The damage from the current recession is evident in the following chart. The trough in total employment (PAYEMS) dropped below the trough in the previous recession for the first time since data was available (1948).

    Although total employment is improving, we're still nearly 2.6 million jobs short of the prior peak. Granted, some of that peak was due to the subprime mortgage bubble.


    In perspective, the latest jobs report is pleasant news but not great news.

  • Report this Comment On May 03, 2013, at 6:38 PM, Kauaicat wrote:

    The number of hours worked per week dropped from 34.6 to 34.4 in April. Many of these jobs were in low-paying retail positions, and very few in manufacturing. The decrease in hours is indicative of a future trend dictated by the Obamacare requirement to provide health insurance for individuals working more than 29.5 hrs per week for companies with more than 50 employees. The result is that full-time jobs will be split in several part-time jobs, requiring the addition of additional employees, but a reduction in hrs worked.

    This is what I call the "Hawaii effect". Hawaii has long mandated that employers of ALL sizes provide health insurance for employees working more than 19.5 hrs per week. The result has been many people, especially in the restaurant/bar industry, working 2 or 3 part-time jobs to make ends meet.

  • Report this Comment On May 03, 2013, at 7:12 PM, eldetorre wrote:

    We need tax incentives for businesses that actually generate net job growth not tax incentives in mere hopes of job creation.

    How bout incentivizing retirement for people that don't need to work.

  • Report this Comment On May 03, 2013, at 9:55 PM, riffraff2008 wrote:

    Hopefully some of the under-employed, people who have given up looking altogether, and college grads not able to find work in their field of study will start feeling some of the optimism.

  • Report this Comment On May 03, 2013, at 11:49 PM, hemifan426 wrote:

    Come on fools, dont buy into the libby garbage, a bunch of low paying and part-time jobs dont make a recovery. Real unemployment when you add back in the numbers the libtard press and government take out is about 22% and real inflation is through the roof. the depression remains. Oil and gas are three times higher than 5 years ago. Until that number drops, the decline will continue. That is simple economic fact, economics dont change just because the press and government lie and pad numbers and you out here are smart enough to know that.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 12:39 AM, ImperiumVita wrote:

    Given the use of the term "disastrous" at the end of the article, one questions the use of the phrase "Bouncing Back" in the headline. It sounds more at this point like jobs are an old woman climbing the stairs. Slowly moving upwards,yes, but there's certainly no bouncing going on.

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 8:44 PM, bonefishing wrote:

    Thank you Hemifan426! Currently there are less people working now than since the dreaded term of Jimmy Carter! Which is pretty pathetic with increased population and increasing liberal payouts. I don't quite understand how this is not mentioned in most media!

  • Report this Comment On May 04, 2013, at 9:04 PM, TMFMorgan wrote:

    <<Currently there are less people working now than since the dreaded term of Jimmy Carter ... I don't quite understand how this is not mentioned in most media!>>

    The fact that it's not true might have something to do with it.

    Payrolls, 1979: 90.7 million

    Payrolls, 2013: 135.5 million

    You might be thinking of the labor force participation rate, but most of that decline is due to the demographics of baby boomers. The LFPR is currently the lowest since Carter, but much higher than it was under Kennedy. Just looking at the raw value without context tells you nothing.

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2013, at 12:05 AM, SkepikI wrote:

    ^ Morgan: if you can believe any of the statistics gathered today, let alone the statistics gathered in the 50s and 60s.... its exactly like comparing the farmland gross acreage or forest land in 1860 against the same data today. Random guesses for these stats in 1860 is hilarious and so is the suspicious data gathered today. Comparing the two is a side-spliter, but nothing worth evaluating.

    "Just looking at the raw value without context tells you nothing"....(choke, gasp, bwahaha) as if.....

    And no I'm not saying everything is smoke and mirrors conspiracy... just the rules in collecting data have changed so many times you really have to give up on these kind of analytics...

  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2013, at 1:59 PM, moneytrail wrote:

    Morgan - you're chart-silly & giddy for the Pres. 200 thousand jobs/month isn't a recovery, it's a gasp! This is even more true when one considers Bozo the Prez has added almost $7 trillion in debt since '09. If the Pres stopped his all out assault on success & the private sector, 1/3 of that &7 trillion invested by the private sector would have our economy generating 2x to 4x as many jobs, as occurred in precious recoveries This would be in stark contrast to the current government "engineered" flat line recovery where jobs are meager, incomes are down and we're all bracing for the full onslaught of Obamacare.

    Please do us all a favor and stop mimicking an economic analyst when what you really are is a shill for a feckless, ideological Pres, who has a serious problem with private sector achievement.

    Wasn't it you who back in Feb or March of '12 made the outlandish claim that "we finally turned the corner on jobs?" The claim was as ridiculous then as it is now. Paul Krugman would be proud of you. To many of the rest of us you've made yourself a distraction to serious, informed dialogue on this important issue.


  • Report this Comment On May 05, 2013, at 2:17 PM, PesoBob wrote:

    Please tell me if I am mistaken but the all important manufacturing created zero job.

  • Report this Comment On May 06, 2013, at 8:56 AM, mikecart1 wrote:

    The job reports every Thursday is becoming more of a lesson on teaching how to perfectly skew numbers and statistics to meet a 'goal'.

  • Report this Comment On May 06, 2013, at 10:39 PM, JeanDavid wrote:

    With a true unemployment rate of23%, I think this report is not worth the price of a piece of used toilet paper.

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