Explaining Southern California's economy

February jobs report: Better than January?

A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to

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A jobs sign hangs above the entrance to the US Chamber of Commerce building in Washington, DC.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will release its February jobs report on Friday. The January report was better than expected, with the country adding 243,000 jobs and the unemployment rate falling to 8.3 percent. The big question for February is, "Will the improving trend continue?"

Chances are good. The ADP report — which hasn't been all that reliable a predictor of the BLS data of late — came out today and said that the economy had added 216,000 new jobs, barely beating the Bloomberg consensus, which expects a nearly identical 215,000. 

Meanwhile, Business Insider engaged in a very elaborate piece of analysis and came up with — wait for it — 285,000! That would be, as BI notes, the best monthly jobs report in six years. I like that BI zeroes in on auto sales as a key predictor. February saw sales rise to a 15-million annual pace, more than two million better than 2011. 

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Unemployment crisis: More jobs means more networking

LinkedIn Corp.'s IPO Awaited On Wall Street

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I went on "The Patt Morrison Show" today, joining Heidi Shierholz of the Economic Policy Institute to discuss the good December 2011 jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We spent some time talking about how to go about looking for a job, in industry where there's hiring happening — such as sales and technology. 

Networking is essential. But you have a lot of networking options these days. You probably don't want to neglect any of them. Good old-fashioned "pressing the flesh," making sure you talk to friends and professional contacts, still makes sense. But taking advantage of social networking can also connect job-seekers with employers.

LinkedIn — the business-oriented social network that staged an IPO in 2011 — has become an extremely useful in this respect. It's optimized to present candidates to HR folks who like to see references, resumes, and take a gander at the kinds of connections that prospective employees have developed.

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December 2011 jobs report: It could be big

Mercer 12966

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Unemployed father of two, Michael Lopez waits for work outside a temporary labor office in the Southern Californian town of El Centro, a town of 50,000 people where 30.4 percent of the work-age population are without employment, on October 28, 2010.

I can't call this anything other that pure intuition, but I think tomorrow's December 2011 jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is going to be very, very surprising. It's going to show many more jobs added and potentially knock another tenth of the percentage point off the national unemployment number, currently at 8.6 percent.

I could be completely wrong of course. We could end up with just north of 100,000 jobs adding in December, closer to the economic consensus and well below the 350,00-per-month figure we need to see the unemployment crisis begin to resolve.

I'm going on feeling, but the rest to the world can look to the ADP report, which provides a preview of the official BLS data. It hasn't been terribly reliable of late. And as the Wall Street Journal points out, its average December miss since 2006 has been...122,000 jobs. 

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