Job Growth Exceeded Expectations in December

In December, the private sector added 297,000 jobs. This is about three times the number - 100,000 - economists had been predicting for that month. It's also more than three times the number - 92,000 - created in November.

Those latest figures, released by ADP Employer Services, indicate that the recession-plagued economy might be shifting into recovery. The biggest gain in job growth has been in the non-manufacturing sector. There are also other bright spots.

Executive search firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas noted that the number of future layoffs is at its lowest since 2007. The stock market has been at its highest level since 2008. And there is selective reporting, such as by recruitment firm Robert Half International, of an uptick in jobs, along with increased compensation, in depressed sectors such as legal. For example, demand and salaries for paralegals and experienced lawyers are, finds Robert Half, "hot."

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