As I mentioned in Wednesday’s blog “Jobs Outlook Picking Up, But…” we’re starting to see some glimmers of economic improvement in various places, and analysts and pundits alike are becoming more optimistic — albeit cautiously and tentatively, including me. This morning’s report from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics for the December Employment Situation summary (PDF format) likewise includes some additional ground for an improved outlook, but in the same hesistant vein.
Some basic numbers worth noting include:
- Employment losses originally pegged at -11,000 (the lowest numbers since 2007) were bumped by 15,000 into barely positive territory for a 4,000 net gain for November, 2009. Job losses of 85,000 for December represent a 100K swing, but are still much lower than in the first three quarters of 2009, and for most of 2008.
- Table B-1 reports on nonfarm payrolls by industry sector and selected industry detail, among which is an Information category highly germane to IT folks. For the first time this year (or last) there are some actual job gains inside the detail (+2,700 jobs in Motion picture and sound recording industries, and +700 in Data processing, hosting, and other services), though the whole sector still experienced a net loss of 6,000 jobs overall. Even more impressive, the Professional and business services sector (which includes various IT related elements as well) experienced a net gain of 50,000 jobs.
- Unemployment remains unchanged at 10 percent, despite the slight downtick from November to December, 2009.
It’s not time to break out the hats and noisemakers just yet, but a little more light is leaking into this end of a long, dark tunnel. You certainly shouldn’t let it blind you to the realities of our continuing situation, but it’s nice to have some signs of actual improvement, however faint they may be. At least, I don’t have to tell you that “things aren’t getting worse today as fast as they were yesterday,” though that remark still bears plenty of relevance to the way things look from where I sit.