OK, it’s the Friday of the month when the US Bureau of Labor Statistics releases its Employment Situation Summary, this time for April 2012. This one is something of a mixed bag, because while it once again shows modest improvement — an uptick of 115,000 jobs, in fact — that improvement is even more modest than the 120,000 uptick originally reported for March 2012. That number, in fact, has been revised upward to 154,000 as of this latest summary, and partly as a consequence of that revision overall unemployment takes a dip from 8.2 to 8.1 percent this month. The other notable revision is for February, 2012, which was retroactively raised from 240 to 259 thousand jobs as well. But the overall emphasis in this report is best summed up as “little change across the board.”
A follow-up story from Employment Screening Resources dated this morning makes some interesting observations, however:
- Professional and business service jobs are up by 62,000 in April, an increase of 1.5 million jobs since these categories hit their low points in September of 2009.
- Retail employment is up by 29,000 jobs for April, with most of those additions (21,000) in general merchandising outlets.
- Leisure and hospitality and health care each added about 20,000 jobs in April (with most of the health care positions — 15 of 19 thousand — going to ambulatory health care jobs for home health services or in private physician-owned medical practices)
- Manufacturing experienced an even smaller bump of 16,000 jobs in April, while mining and logging, construction, wholesale, information, finance, and government were flat. Only transportation and warehousing lost jobs in April, to the tune of 17,000 positions.
Given the recent reduction in the pace of recovery, some charting experts believe that it might presage an actual down-turn in the economy. For example, you can find an interesting argument for this at Abigail Dolittle’s blog “Charting the Employment Situation” (be sure to click the PDF symbol at the upper right, to see the charts discussed herein, or you’ll be as nonplussed as I was before I finally figured that out). If you do look at this blog in PDF form, you’ll see some very suggestive and visually compelling signs that there may be some bumps in the road to recovery ahead. This will make next month’s numbers for May, 2012, particularly interesting and compelling to watch.
In the meantime, cross your fingers, and hope for the best!