New data suggest US employment picture is improving

06 September 2012 16:49  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--US job growth in the private sector in August was at its highest level in five months, the number of layoffs was at a 20-month low, and fewer people sought unemployment help, according to data reports on Thursday, signalling an improvement in the nation’s employment picture.

Payroll processing firm ADP said that private employers hired 201,000 workers in August, an improvement over the already strong July employment growth of 173,000 and the highest level of new hiring in five months.

Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomics Advisers, said that the solid gain in private sector hiring last month “supports the notion that the underlying trend in hiring has picked back up after slowing sharply during the spring”.

“The gain in private employment in August is strong enough to suggest that the national unemployment rate may have declined,” Prakken added.

The US Labor Department is to report the official national employment and jobless figures for August on Friday. That report also includes federal and state government employment figures, where job reductions were rampant during and since the 2008-2009 recession.

According to those Labor Department reports, overall US job growth in May, June and July was disappointing and the unemployment rate ticked back up to 8.3% in July from the 8.2% reading in June.

ADP’s data, which is compiled in partnership with Macroeconomics Advisers, suggests that Friday’s federal jobs report could show an employment turnaround for the county.

In addition, outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said on Thursday that US companies last month announced plans to lay off 32,239 workers, the fewest number of monthly job cuts since December 2010.

The lay-offs were 12.5% lower in August than in July and were 37% below the pace of job cuts announced in August last year, the company said.

Also on Thursday, the latest unemployment claims data from the Labor Department showed that 365,000 Americans sought jobless benefits in the week ending 1 September, a decline of 12,000 from the week before and another sign that the nation’s employment picture may be improving.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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