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Unemployment: America is Going Back to Work

The jobs situation is continuing to improve:

Everyone knows the grim news -- unemployment in the United States has jumped to 8.5 percent, a 25-year high, and is racing toward double digits. Since November, the nation has lost more than three million jobs.

But not everyone knows the brighter side to the equation: deep in the maw of the deepest recession since the Great Depression, millions are still being hired.

So, while 4.8 million workers were laid off or chose to leave their jobs in February, employers across the country hired 4.3 million workers that month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The jobs growth is broad-based:

Who is hiring? Hospitals, colleges, discount stores, restaurants and municipal public works departments. I.B.M. is hiring more than 700 people for its new technical services center in Dubuque, Iowa, while the Cleveland Clinic has 500 job openings, not just for nurses but also for pharmacy aides and physical therapists. And after President Obama's stimulus package kicks into gear, state, local governments and road-building contractors are expected to hire more.

More after the jump:

Even industries that have taken a beating are doing plenty of hiring. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, construction companies hired 366,000 workers in February, and manufacturers hired 249,000. Retailers hired 536,000 workers in February, but that was down 25 percent from the previous February. [...]

The nation's largest private-sector employer, Wal-Mart Stores, is also hiring aplenty. Wal-Mart, with 1.4 million workers nationwide, hires several hundred thousand workers each year because of employee turnover, and expects to increase its domestic work force by nearly 50,000 this year, thanks to plans to open 150 new stores.

Shawnalyn Conner is running a hiring center for a Wal-Mart store that will open on June 17 in Weaverville, N.C., near Asheville. She plans to hire 350 workers.

"The biggest comment that we get from people is that they're looking for a company that's growing, and Wal-Mart offers that," said Ms. Conner, who, as the top manager of the new store, has hired 77 people so far. Gisel Ruiz, senior vice president for the people division of Wal-Mart U.S., said the company had a hiring program for former junior military officers, often for jobs as assistant store managers. With many veterans having a hard time landing jobs, Wal-Mart hired 150 former officers last year.

The health care industry has held its own in hiring. The University of Miami medical school, which runs three hospitals, has 250 openings and is hiring about 35 people a month, compared with 100 a month in good times. Cleveland Clinic has 500 job openings, compared with 2,000 during better times.

"We have a hiring freeze on, but even when there's a hiring freeze, we need to maintain our head count," said Joe Patrnchak , Cleveland Clinic's chief human resources officer. "We have 40,000 people, and you're going to have some openings."

He is encountering an unusual snag in hiring people. "A challenge we have now is people from other areas are having problems selling their homes," Mr. Patrnchak said. "People aren't quite as mobile nowadays."

And fewer people are quitting their current jobs:


The recession has encouraged people to cling to their jobs. Just 1.5 percent of workers voluntarily quit their jobs in February, the lowest level since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting those numbers eight years ago.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (1)

Mac Lorry:

According to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy is still shedding jobs faster than it's creating them. It's still anyone's guess if the economy has bottomed out yet, or if there's more shrinkage to come. Most of the stimulus money won't even be spent this year, so any recovery this year will come from the private sector doing what it knows best how to do, which is to create goods and services people want, and in the process, create jobs.

Unfortunately, the huge and rapidly growing deficit means either banana republic like inflation, early 80's like interest rates, or both. That will kill off any economic growth in a year or two and may put us back into recession.

There is a way out of this mess, but it's not the direction Obama is going.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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