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.

Read the article at PBS NewsHour →