It's the first Friday of the month. Do you know what that means? It means that the US Labor Department has released the employment numbers for the previous month. What does the December jobs report have to offer?
Thankfully, it's mostly good news. CNN Money reports that the economy added 200,000 jobs in December, closing the year with 1.6 million jobs gained. That's compared to only 940,000 jobs added in 2010. Unemployment fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest it has been since February 2009. It was also the fourth consecutive month that unemployment fell, coming off the 8.6 percent level in the November jobs report. Overall, the private sector added 212,000 jobs while the public sector slashed another 12,000.
So what does all this mean for job seekers? The increased hiring bodes well for them, though it will also likely mean even stiffer competition as inactive job hunters get back into the search. Yet despite this good news, the economy still has a long way to go. According to CNN Money, the economy needs to add roughly 6 million more jobs to get back to pre-recession levels. And despite the decreasing unemployment, there are still 13 million Americans out of work, many of whom have been unemployed for six months or more. But there's no doubt that the job market is headed in the right direction.