By Will Skebey, ITR Economics
The U.S. economy has completed its recovery from the last recession in the late 2010; however, unemployment remains stubbornly high.
The December non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.3%. This number is 0.8 percentage points below last year but still 2.5 percentage points above the historical average rate.
Even though the unemployment rate is always something to be concerned about, the actual number of those employed can provide a clearer picture of the status of the labor market. In 2011, average employment (not seasonally adjusted) was around 139.9 million people or 0.6% above 2010.
The following are the number of employed for several key sectors of the economy and the year-over-year percentage change from 2010 to 2011:
Budget problems at the federal, state and municipal levels continue to weigh on government employment. Construction employment is unchanged from the year-ago level, but this is a positive sign considering the previous four years saw construction employment decrease significantly.
The other segments indicate employment grew from their 2010 levels. As overall employment rises in 2012, the U.S. economy will continue to improve.