Five Facts You Should Take Away from the Latest US Jobs Report

If you're job-hunting, chances are you pay attention when the U.S. government issues its monthly employment report. But do you know what the report's massive amounts of numbers and data really mean? Here's a brief primer on the important facts you need to understand about the U.S. Labor Department's May 2010 employment report, which was published on Friday, June 4.

Fact #1

The country's unemployment rate edged down to 9.7% last month, which is an improvement compared to its peak above 10% in 2009.

Fact #2

Unfortunately for job seekers, the story behind those numbers isn't as encouraging. Because while payroll jobs grew by 431,000 in May, that reflected the hiring of 411,000 temporary employees to work on the 2010 U.S. Census. Jobs in the private sector--the kind of jobs most people hope to get--changed little, rising 41,000.

Fact #3

The good news is that we're slowly climbing out of recession, which means there is hope if you're unemployed. This year, the experts are seeing more reasons to be hopeful about the economy. For the first time since the recession hit in late 2007, shoots of growth are being seen this year in economic data ranging from consumer sentiment to home sales. In speeches this week, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recovery in economic activity that began last year has continued at a "moderate pace" so far this year, and the nation appears to be on track to expand even more this year and next. "My best guess is we will have a continued recovery, but it won't feel terrific," Bernanke said.

Fact #4

One of the odd realities of an economic recovery is that the unemployment rate actually rises a bit in the recovery's early stages because people who had given up on job-hunting are re-entering the employment market. This helps explain why the unemployment rate is remaining stubbornly high as the economy recovers.

Fact #5

Temporary help services continue to be a popular choice for employers. Temporary help services added 31,000 jobs in May, and employment in that area has risen by 362,000 since September 2009. In other words, while you look for your dream job, keep your options open and a paycheck coming in with temp work, contract jobs and freelance opportunities. In fact, the jobs report shows that temp help, hours worked and income are all on the rise. That means many employers have a lot of pent-up demand for workers and should soon be offering more full-time, permanent dream jobs.

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