Twenty-twelve may wind up being the best year for finding a new job in the past six years. Yes, you read that correctly. When we see the final December statistics on the job market Friday, about 2 million jobs likely will have been created in the previous 12 months. So why does it feel like the job market is struggling?
Because it is. Just ask the 2.1 million Americans threatened with losing their extended unemployment benefits at the dawn of the new year. Congress has approved these extra payments averaging $284 per week several times since they were first paid out in 2008. But this time, this additional unemployment insurance is among dozens of issues on the table as part of the fiscal cliff talks.
And then there are the almost 5 million American who have been sidelined for at least six months. While the number of the long-term unemployed has been dropping it remains three times higher than what it was for most of the past decade.
Now consider the unemployment rates for minority groups. African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to go without work than their white counterparts. And it is no secret the more education you have, the lower your odds of being unemployed.
For the millions of Americans and their families who have experienced unemployment, the news this Friday of slow but steady job growth is not encouraging.
It may be another reminder of how the numbers don’t capture the full picture.
Tom Hudson is anchor and managing editor of Nightly Business Report, produced by NBR Worldwide and distributed nationally by American Public Television. In South Florida, the show is broadcast at 7 p.m. weekdays on Channel 2. Follow him on Twitter, @HudsonNBR.