Jae C. Hong, Associated Press
Unemployment has dropped to a national average of 6.1 percent, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The number of jobs added also has many optimistic. According to the report, 288,000 "nonfarm payroll" jobs have been added to the american workforce. According to Politico's Zachary Warmbrodt. That's well over 70,000 more jobs than most economists expected from this report.
"Is the economy finally rousing itself after all these drowsy post-recession years?" Slate's Jordan Weissmann asked Thursday. "I think there’s some reason for optimism," he wrote, "especially given the fact that employers kept hiring while the economy retracted during the winter."
But even Weissmann thinks it important to keep some of the more nuanced elements of the jobs report in perspective.
Weissmann, as well as The New York Times' Neil Irwin, are reserving their enthusiasm principally because "we've seen this before."
"This isn’t one of those months when some good headline data is undermined by the fine print," Irwin wrote. But he concedes that "if this halting, sluggish recovery has taught us anything, it is to not let our assessments of the economy be driven by hope, but rather by sustained and credible improvement in a wide range of economic data."
Another writer at The Times, Jared Bernstein, points out that the jobs report also reveals a drop in America's GDP.
"Since GDP was a big negative in the first quarter, and employment has not just been growing but accelerating, it would seem the only way that equation makes sense would be if productivity had totally collapsed," Bernstein wrote, concluding that the strange GDP numbers most likely indicate if not a collapse in productivity, a deceleration.
Another interesting data point that's emerged from the BLS jobs report is that after five years of "shrinking in the government workforce," as The Wall Street Journal's Eric Morath puts it, the government is hiring again.
"Public-sector employment grew by 54,000 so far this year," Morath observed, which suggests a government willing to invest in education and infrastructure, two areas that suffered in the wake of the recession, according to Morath.
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