The new unemployment figures for March have been all over the news for the past two weeks (we’ve covered them in several tweets). They’ve created a positive buzz among economic analysts who are excited about the biggest job creation in three years. NPR’s Planet Money reported that the economy has “turned the corner.”
The most recent Job Talk from the St. Louis Beacon laid out the numbers. The economy gained a total of 162,000 jobs during March. The healthcare and manufacturing industries were exceptionally strong, gaining 27,000 and 17,000 respectively. While encouraging, the figures are partially tempered by the large portion of temporary positions that make up total job creation, including 48,000 new census employees. Still, experts are quick to point out the temporary job growth is still job growth, and these individuals will spend money and fuel the economy just the same.
Also humbling is the unemployment percentage, which was unchanged in March. It held steady at 9.7% for the third month in a row. It’s worth noting, however, that the constancy of this figure should not be seen to contradict the positive job growth numbers. As the economy improves, more people who had previously left the job market are once again looking for work, which increases the unemployment rate. However you slice it, this sort of job growth is a stark contrast to the peak of the recession, when the economy was losing over 700,000 jobs a month. Perhaps the pair of economists recently interviewed on the NewsHour described the numbers from March best: “encouraging but modest.”