Job market recovery off to a great start in 2012

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After news last month that the economy added 200,000 jobs in December, there was talk that this month’s job numbers would be disappointing by comparison. Earlier this week, for example, economists predicted the economy had gained just 135,000 jobs in January.

It was more than a pleasant surprise then, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly employment report showed that 243,000 jobs were added in January, the largest monthly gain since April 2011. The increase was significant enough to drop the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent, a three-year low point. According to the New York Times, today’s report is “the strongest signal yet that an economic recovery [is] spreading to the jobs market.”

Other signs that the job market recovery is picking up speed?

1. According to the Conference Board’s monthly Help Wanted Online report, the number of advertised job openings online increased by 61,300 in January, to 4,383,400. Online job postings increased by 207,118 year-over-year.

2. Yesterday, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the number of first-time filings for unemployment insurance fell to 367,000 last week. Economists consider fewer than 400,000 new filings per week to be a sign of strong hiring trends.The four-week filing average, a more stable indicator of UI claims, fell to 375,500 — the second lowest four-week average since June 2008.

3. CareerBuilder recently released a list of 22 companies that are currently looking to hire a total of more than 38,000 new employees around the country.

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