Good job gains

A recent national job report was upbeat: Over 150,000 jobs were added, with all of them being privately created positions. N.C. Cooperative Extension economist Mike Walden describes which job sectors were especially hot.

“We had big gains in retail trade, particularly for auto dealers. That indicates that there has been a rebound in vehicle sales, which we have seen.

“Also very importantly, we saw professional jobs up by quite a bit. That’s significant because professional jobs carry the highest salaries, so that will help us in terms of consumers buying power.

“We saw big gains in health-care jobs. That’s really not new — that’s a continuation of a trend. The economy continued to add health-care jobs even during the recession.

“Businesses also hired more support personnel, mainly temporary help. And that is very important. We have seen a large increase in temporary help as opposed to permanent help. I think again that speaks to the uncertainty that many businesses have about the future economy.

“And then lastly, we saw an increase in the average weekly hours worked as well as a big jump in average weekly pay. Those are very good signs those tend to be leading indicators of an improving economy.”

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