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Private sector job numbers surprise economics

Scott Tong Jan 5, 2011
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Private sector job numbers surprise economics

Scott Tong Jan 5, 2011
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STEVE CHIOTAKIS: It’s been the tale of this economic recovery. Beleaguered. Anemic. Jobless. But a couple of reports out today show the economy may’ve kicked into higher gear. At least in the job market. One of those reports says the private sector created nearly 300,000 jobs. And another finds the layoffs and firing rate at its lowest in more than a dozen years.

From Washington, Marketplace’s Scott Tong reports.


SCOTT TONG: The private sector jobs number laughed off the market consensus — and tripled what the prognosticators expected. The very first reaction belonged to Joel Prakken at Macroeconomic Advisors. He’s the one who tallies the numbers. And when he saw them — well sometimes even economists get giddy.

JOEL PRAKKEN: A little surprised, a little excited, and a little wow what happened, as in wow, can we believe this?

December numbers have more uncertainty built in. We’ll spare you the details, but even fudging for that, Prakken says hiring turned up in the fall, and is now accelerating sharply. That may show up in the government’s unemployment rate Friday. It’s around 10 percent now. But Prakken sees a hopeful trajectory.

PRAKKEN: Flat to down over the next half year. And then following that half year on an unambiguously downward track.

A separate survey provides potentially corroborating evidence on the jobs picture. The job placement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas found monthly layoffs at a ten year low. In December, employers ditched 32,000 workers.

In Washington I’m Scott Tong, for Marketplace.

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