Strong Jobs Report, Despite Slight Rise in Unemployment Rate – What Does this Mean for Job Seekers?

Although April’s unemployment rate rose to 9%, as compared to last month’s rate of 8.8%, the U.S. economy seems to at least be showing some signs of recovery with the addition of 244,000 jobs; far more jobs than expected, as reported by the Department of Labor. Higher oil prices and fears of a slowdown in the economy didn’t’ seem to deter employers from adding jobs across many industries. We’re also seeing similar trends, with recent month over month increases in job postings on America’s Job Exchange’s Career Exchanges, which cater to multiple industries and job seeker segments. The response to the slight rise in unemployment was tempered by hiring increases; increases that have been occurring for three consecutive months.

Subsequently, some economists seem to be putting more focus on employers and better than expected job gains, which had been initially forecast as coming in at 185,000 vs. the 244,000 reported. Despite this somewhat optimistic view, the jobless rate still continues to be a concern for many; with further concerns that increases could result from loss of jobs in the public sector. What do these conflicting views mean for job seekers? In the short-term, the news appears to be good. Employers are now faced with a new challenge of having to bring on more workers to increase productivity, and conversely sales. While many have been focused on cutting their workforce drastically over the last year – the result of which has left many employers with the most streamlined labor-force in recent decades, employers now face a new challenge; increasing productivity – i.e. to hire or not to hire.

Whether the recovery will show greater signs of improvement in the coming months, still remains to be seen. Unknown factors such as further rises in oil prices, food and other consumables, will factor greatly on both employer and consumer spending alike. However, in the short-term the shift in employer sentiment centered on ramping-up hiring – even slightly, today is good news. According to the Department of Labor, some of the biggest gains were made in the retail trade (57,000), professional and business services (51,000), leisure and hospitality sectors (46,000), and health care (37,000) sectors. Other notable gains included the manufacturing (29,000) and mining (11,000) sectors, while the construction sector remains unchanged.

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