Finally! Job market returns to 2008 peak

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That’s according to the Department of Labor’s latest jobs report, which shows the U.S. economy added217,000 jobs in May. With that job growth, there are now more jobs in the country than ever before.The last time we were near this point was January 2008, just before massive layoffs swept throughout the country, leading the unemployment rate to spike to 10%. The unemployment rate is unchanged at6.3% for May,and much has improved since the worst of the crisis.

Related: Happy to have a #newjob

Yet, this isn’t the moment to break out the champagne. Given population growth over the last four years, the economy still needs more jobs to truly return to a healthy place. How many more? A whopping 7 million, calculates Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute.

As of May, about 3.4 million Americanshad been unemployed for six months or more, and 7.3 millionwere stuck in part-time jobs although they wanted to work full-time. Both these numbers are still elevated compared to historic norms, and are of concern to Federal Reserve officials, who will meet in two weeks to re-evaluate their stimulus policies.

Overall, this has been the longest jobs recovery since the Department of Labor started tracking jobs data in 1939. Economists surveyed by CNNMoney predict it will take two to three more years to return to “full employment,” which they define as an unemployment rate around 5.5%.

These jobs are still missing: The jobs that have been created over the last few years are not necessarily the same ones that were lost. Blue-collar jobs in manufacturing and construction accounted for about half of all the positions lost in the crisis, and they’ve been painfully slow to return.

States that were hardest hit by the housing bust, like Nevada and Arizona, have had the slowest comebacks and still haven’t fully recouped all the jobs they lost.

These are the jobs we’ve gained: States like North Dakota and Texas have come out well ahead of the pack. North Dakota has 30% more jobs now than it did in early 2008, and Texas has 9% more jobs than it did back then.

Nationwide, industries like health care, professional services and leisure and hospitality have not only recovered, but are at all-time highs for jobs. Whereas low-wage jobs dominated the first part of the recovery, now middle wage jobs appear to be growing as well.

Justin Hirsch, president of JobPlex, specializes in recruiting mid-level managers and young executives for companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Facebook. Over the last year, he’s seen an increase in top companies looking for human resources managers — which could be a good sign of more job growth to come.

“The labor market, from our perspective, seems to be improving,” he said. “If anything, corporations are very hungry for great talent.”

New grads from the class of 2014 may face a better job market, but they’ll also be competing against workers whose careers have taken a detour over the last few years.

“Will employers have the patience for the individual who had to disrupt their career path over the last few years? Or will they just go back to hiring fresh grads?” said Rich Thompson, chief human resources officer, for Adecco Group North America. “It’s going to be really interesting to see.”

TM & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


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  • Black Rush Limbaugh

    This story is nothing more than propaganda. The largest percent of jobs lost were full time jobs. The current largest percent of jobs created are part-time positions. These are not jobs. The people in these part time positions still qualify for assistance from the state, therefore they are not gainfully employed.

    This is just the democrats way of saying they did a good job, when they are actually letting us know that they intend to make part time work a permanent way of life, in order to keep citizens Dependant on the government to keep getting their votes. This entire story is hog-wash at it's best (democrats manipulation).

  • lusomet

    Yeah watch out people. This is the type of market often seen right before we reach a top. Everything looks so rosy, like nothing could go wrong, and BAM. I have been moving money away for the last quarter, into alternative investments. This is my current investment/savings plan:

    1. Still put the max in my 401k that my employer will match 3% for me with a 3% match.
    2. Invest in real estate through a few limited partnership agreements, as well as an investment in my own home, which when done will has a nice positive net return (tax deferred too).
    3. When you buy your car, buy used, buy durable, and do your research. Pay for the car in full. Get a cheap, yet solid insurance policy (Insurance Panda has them for $25/month… woohoo!). Don’t buy a gas guzzler or a car that needs repairs all the time.
    4. Get rid of financial advisors who do not bring you any value. The 1% a year they cost adds up to enormous sums over a lifetime.
    5. I started a small business. It does not make a lot but we are already profitable, and it should continue to grow over time.
    6. Don't spend more than you make. You should try very hard to only borrow money for a home. Everything else should be paid off monthly.

    Not out of equities entirely, but with fixed income set to rise it was time to really diversify some holdings.

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