STEVE CHIOTAKIS: The nation’s economy created 216,000 jobs last month — sending the unemployment rate down slightly. That’s according to the Labor Department in a report just released a few minutes ago. Is the job market finally getting some high-speed traction?
Jill Schlesinger is editor-at-large at CBS/MoneyWatch. She’s with us LIVE from New York, as she is every Friday morning. Good morning Jill.
JILL SCHLESINGER: Good morning.
CHIOTAKIS: So a positive jobs report I see — 216,000 jobs. Biggest monthly job creation in nearly a year — does this mean the jobs recovery is in full swing?
SCHLESINGER: I think it does mean that and you know that we started off the first quarter with a very weak January report due to weather, but now we’ve picked up again. We’ve got for the first quarter an average of about 159,000 jobs a month. And we do want to see that closer to 200,000 to really feel better, but this is moving in the right direction.
CHIOTAKIS: We want to see the average at 200,000. So what kind of jobs are we talking about here? What’s being created out there.
SCHLESINGER: Well, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics they still say health care is moving in a big way. Manufacturing, and you know the one real sore spot continues to be government — local employment at government, and states still trending down. So, we really want to see that kind of stop by the end of this year, hopefully as states get their budgets in control.
CHIOTAKIS: Are people still under-employed though?
SCHLESINGER: Well, I think they are. And here’s the problem. You know, we are seeing that a number of the jobs that have been created are some of them in like the leisure and hospitality industry. There’s a report in today’s New York Times that a lot of the new jobs that have been created over the last year are lower paying. And a lot of families are struggling to make ends meet as they readjust to a lower level of income.
CHIOTAKIS: You know I see what’s going on the Middle East, and the disaster in Japan — have those things going to affect this jobs recovery?
SCHLESINGER: Well, I’m not sure. I think that maybe in the auto industry and the technology industry, maybe that’ll show up in next month’s report. We didn’t see any sign of it in this month’s report. We’re going to have to keep an eye on that because clearly they’re some supply chain issues down the line.
CHIOTAKIS: All right. Jill Schlesinger from CBS/MoneyWatch in New York. Jill thanks.
SCHLESINGER: Thank you.
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