Today Employment Situation Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics certainly appears to be good news:
Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 200,000 in December, and the unemployment rate, at 8.5 percent, continued to trend down, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, retail trade, manufacturing, health care, and mining.
Felix Salmon characterizes the report as unmitigated good news:
File this one under “unmitigated good news”: America’s employment situation turns out to have been rosier, at the end of 2011, than anyone had dared hope. There were 200,000 more people in work last month than there were in November, and the unemployment rate — by far the single most politically-important macroeconomic statistic — fell to 8.5%, the lowest rate in three years. All data series are noisy, of course, and we’ll surely see volatility in this one over the course of 2012. But it really does seem that there’s a bit of fire in the American belly right now, and that things are going to continue to get better over the course of this year unless and until some new crisis comes along.
I think I’ll hold off on the champagne for a bit. As noted this is a particularly noisy statistic but even more notably November’s employment numbers were revised downwards by 20% while November’s unemployment rate was revised upwards. I’ll be more enthusiastic when I see the revised numbers that are issued next month.
Remember, folks, we’re in a recovery and it won’t go on forever.
Tyler Durden looks forward to the frabjous day when the U. S. will, officially at least, have zero unemployment, the feat to be accomplished by reducing the labor participation rate to 58.5%. See the charts in his post. The labor participation rate now is where it was 30 years ago. Somehow I don’t think that people are rejoicing at the additional leisure.