Job situation continues to improve, for now

The job news for April was solid: Private employers added 268,000 jobs in April, the biggest hiring binge since February 2006. The public sector continued to shed jobs, though, leaving the net gain for the month at 244,000.

Unemployment inched back up to 9 percent as more people tried to rejoin the job market.

This is good news, the 14th straight month of private-sector job growth (what was that about a “job-killing” health care reform law again?), but there are plenty of storm clouds on the horizon. As Paul Krugman pointed out in a recent blog post:

By my count we’ve had four adverse surprises lately: GDP, private-sector payrolls, service-sector survey, and new claims for unemployment insurance. Since there seem to be a fair number of Charlie Browns out there — people who keep expecting a housing recovery, even though Lucy keeps pulling away the football — I guess we should add weak housing numbers to the mix.

It looks like a sputter, not a crash, but it’s definitely not good.

So tell me again, with a fragile recovery that was just showing signs of reaching the middle class beginning to sputter, why is all the talk in Washington about deficit reduction instead of economic stimulus?


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