We asked Northeastern University economist Barry Bluestone what he made of the numbers.
BARRY BLUESTONE, Northeastern University: On balance, this was a good report today, over 200,000 people back to work. We have got the unemployment rate down from 7.3 percent to 7 percent. That’s all good news.
Of course, many of those were federal employees coming back to work after furlough, but we had some good news about manufacturing employment up, construction employment up, pretty much across the board. So, in general, this is good news. Plus, over the last several months, we have been seeing more job growth, in the area of about 200,000 jobs a month.
PAUL SOLMAN: Indeed, job gains were broad-based, from manufacturing and construction to warehousing and transportation, to retail, as the holiday shopping season kicked off.
But amidst the good news, a curiously stubborn fact, says Bluestone.
BARRY BLUESTONE: We continue to see incredibly high levels of long-term unemployment. These are people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more; 4.1 million Americans have been unemployed that long. And that isn’t moving at all. It’s been over 4 million-plus for months. So these are people who are at a point where they’re just essentially out of the economy and, of course, hurting very badly.