AMERICA'S recovery has not been an easy one for workers. For months, the economy expanded without doing much at all to create jobs and bring down unemployment. And recently, the economy has shown signs of falling again, raising the possibility that in 2011 recovery would once more fail to bring meaningful gains to workers.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics has given American workers a big reason to hope, however. This morning, the BLS released payroll employment numbers that show a labour market growing progressively stronger. American firms added 244,000 jobs in April, and the private sector added 268,000. Payroll figures for February and March were both revised upward. Over the past three months private-sector employment has risen by an average of over 250,000 jobs per month.
Encouragingly, retail employment grew strongly in April, by 57,000, suggesting that consumers are spending despite high petrol prices. Rising employment may well boost spending, reinforcing this trend. Manufacturing employment rose yet again. That sector has added 141,000 jobs in 2011 alone.
With so many unemployed remaining, it's difficult to be too cheerful. But with every month that the economy adds over 200,000 jobs, the sustainability of recovery is less in doubt.