Jay Hancock's blog: April is best jobs gain in almost a year

May 06, 2011|By Jay Hancock, Baltimore Sun columnist

Another decent but not fabulous jobs report. Economy added 244,000 jobs, which is the best result since May 2010. This makes more than 1 million jobs that the economy has added on net since September. And -- hurray! -- it's private-sector corporations that are doing the hiring. They're taking the cash hoards they've been sitting on and making them available to the human resources department.

The seers had expected fewer than 200,000 jobs, based partly on a disappointing private-sector jobs survey that came out earlier this week and based partly on a spike in unemployment claims. Initial claims for jobless benefits have spiked in recent weeks to an eight-month high. But some analysts believe that has more to do with weirdness in the Oregon and New York claims systems and with temporary auto-plant shutdowns resulting from the Japanese tsunami than with overall economic torpor. Economy has now added 768,000 jobs this year.

Unemployment went from 8.8 percent to 9.0 percent, suggesting people who had previously been discouraged have begun looking for jobs again. To make a real dent in unemployment, the economy needs to start adding 400,000 jobs a month for an extended period.

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