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Signs of strengthening economy, payrolls grow by fastest rate since May

by Adam Russett on April 1, 2011

The unemployment rate for the United States dipped to 8.8 percent in March, which many experts believe is indicative of a strengthening economy and renewed confidence that could lead to further hiring. Private sector payrolls increased by a seasonally adjusted 216,000 in March, which is the fastest rate since last May, the Labor Department said

The growth totaled to 230,000 new jobs in March and 240,000 were added in February. This is the first time since 2006 when there were more than 200,000 jobs added in two consecutive months.

Perhaps most interestingly, this trend defies economist's estimates that unemployment would grow back to 9 percent, leaving others confident.

"The speed of the decline in the unemployment rate already is putting pessimists to shame," Robert Brusca, chief economist at FAO Economics, said in a statement.

Not all of the growth was positive, however. Government employment continued to fall for the fifth month in a row, as public sector jobs shed another 14,000 positions in March. Most of the new jobs added were in the service industry, with a focus on healthcare and leisure. Goods-producing and manufacturing industries both showed steady growth.

Still, CNN reports that the momentum was sustained in many other areas as well – 68 percent of all industries added jobs.

"It's strong across the board," Tig Gilliam, president of the North American unit of job placement firm Adecco, told the news source. "Is it as fast as we'd all want? Probably not, but it's moving in the right direction and it continues to accelerate."

A survey conducted by The Business Roundtable found that American CEOs are also optimistic, predicting increased sales, spending and hiring, according to The Star-Ledger.  

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