In case you missed it: March 4
Happy Employee Appreciation Day! It’s been a tough couple of years for U.S. workers and for many who have experienced unemployment during that time, morale might be low. But today is a day to say “thank you” for your contributions and let you know that you have not gone unnoticed. And what better way to do so than with one of the most positive BLS jobs reports we’ve seen in recent times?
The Labor Department reported this morning that the economy added 192,000 jobs in February, the largest monthly gain since May 2010. What’s more, the national unemployment rate fell below 9 percent for the first time in almost two years. Now at 8.9 percent, the unemployment rate dropped nearly a full percentage in the past three months. This represents the most rapid improvement in almost 28 years.
In similar news, the Monster Employment Index, a barometer of online labor demand, rose 4 percent in February compared to the same month last year. The Index was up 6 percent over January.
We also saw good news for college grads this week. The National Association of Colleges and Employers’ (NACE) hiring Index jumped 5.4 points from January to February, which means that more hiring of college students took place. Recruiting activity also climbed five points. This could be a sign of increased opportunities for students as the academic year begins winding down.
These reports indicate that companies are starting to feel more confident in the economy. Hopefully, the trends will continue and businesses will begin hiring more aggressively. One thing to note, though: Don’t be surprised if the unemployment rate stagnates or even climbs slightly in coming months. As the economic outlook brightens, many of the long-term unemployed who abandoned their search for a job during the Great Recession might resume efforts, reentering the workforce.