Jobless rate falls

Stocks jumped on this news as the report was expected to be bad. Again, the Labor Deportment made significant upward revisions to reports from previous months.

Overall the unemployment rate is at a 4-year low of 7.5%. Of course there’s a long way to go but at least we’re making some steady progress.

More construction jobs added

Warren Buffett famously declared that the slumping US economy would have trouble rebounding until housing stabilized and we started seeing new construction jobs. Well, there’s been plenty of good news on the housing front, and now we’re seeing good news on construction jobs in the latest jobs report.

After five years of hemorrhaging jobs, the construction industry has become one of the bright spots of the labor market — a hopeful sign that one of the most damaged sectors of the economy may finally be starting to heal.

Overall, the government’s monthly jobs report, released Friday, showed continued modest growth in December. The economy added 155,000 jobs, on par with the monthly average for both 2012 and 2011. The unemployment rate remained at 7.8 percent.

But a closer look reveals that nearly one-fifth of the jobs created were in construction, marking only the third time since the recession ended in June 2009 that the industry has added 30,000 workers or more. The surge capped one of the largest three-month gains the sector has seen since the recession began in December 2007.

The return of construction jobs is an especially critical component of the economic recovery. That’s partly because of the sheer number of jobs lost — more than 2 million since 2007 — but also because of fears that many of those workers’ skills may not translate to other industries, rendering them permanently unemployable.

This should help to turbocharge the overall job market. If you’ve given up looking for work, not is the time to get back at it.

Solid job growth continues

The economy continues its slow and steady recovery. Job growth was solid but not spectacular again last month, which has some political implications as well.

The last remaining political land mine embedded in Barack Obama’s path to reelection has failed to detonate.

With time fast running out, the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning released the last monthly jobs report we’ll see in this election. The news was unexpectedly decent: 171,000 nonfarm jobs added in October, and unemployment essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent.

What’s more, the August numbers were revised upwards from 142,000 to 192,000, and the September numbers were boosted from 114,000 to 148,000. This suggests the possibility that something was stirring in the economy that we hadn’t picked up, and could help explain why Obama’s small but seemingly durable edge in the electoral college has persisted.

These are solid numbers for President Obama‘s campaign in a super close election as the unemployment rate stayed below 8%. The Mitt Romney campaign will point it that the rate ticked up a tenth of a point.

Jobless claims plunge

The news on jobs keeps improving.

Weekly jobless claims moved sharply lower, while inflation remained tame and housing starts unexpectedly weakened in December, according to a set of data painting a mixed picture of the economic recovery.

Weekly unemployment benefit applications dropped to 352,000, the fewest in nearly four years.

The buzz out there is that manufacturing is a big part of the rebound.

It will be interesting to see how the improving job situation will affect the 2012 presidential election.

Unemployment drops to 8.5%

Slowly but surely, we’re starting to see a rebound in the US economy. Manufacturing is picking up, consumers are spending more and companies are starting to hire. The unemployment rate has now dropped to 8.5% after the economy added 200,000 jobs in December.

The jobs report builds on a several new indicators pointing toward an economy on the upswing.

The government reported Thursday that claims for unemployment benefits declined in the final week of December, moving the average over the past four weeks to its lowest level in more than three years.

The Institute for Supply Management reported this week that its employment index for December was 55.1, the highest reading since June. A reading above 50 means that more companies are creating jobs than cutting them.

The nation’s factories have added more than 300,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010 — about 13 percent of what was lost during the recession — marking the first sustained increase in manufacturing employment since 1997, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Auto sales in December were up, continuing their substantial improvement from the summer. And for all of 2011, vehicle sales rose 10 percent.

The auto numbers are critical. For example, Chrysler sales keep increasing and the company is adding jobs.

The economy has added jobs for 15 consecutive months so there is reason for continued optimism.

If you’ve been out of work and have given up, go back and start looking again.

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