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Vault Employment Tracker
The BLS' December jobs summary had mixed news for job seekers. While some 103,000 positions were created in December, that was far below the number that economists had predicted--and nowhere near enough to be solely responsible for the drop in the unemployment rate (it came in at 9.4 percent, down from 9.8 percent in November). Sadly, that truth was borne out elsewhere in the numbers: some 450,000 people either became discouraged with the search or left their jobs voluntarily during the month.
Still, as 2011 gets under way, economists of all stripes are expressing optimism about the year ahead. Companies saw record profits in 2010 and are sitting on unprecedented piles of cash. Whether they will choose to grow headcount this year will depend on a number of factors, but there have already been some notable announcements. Toward the tail end of 2010, for example, both Deloitte and KPMG announced that they were each starting efforts to hire 250,000 workers over the next five years. That underlines one key fact about hiring: that companies tend to move in packs. Thus, if one firm decides to grow its headcount, competitors will surely follow. What we're waiting for, then, is a few more firms to take the plunge.
As we await the rebound, we'll keep doing our best to catch the most significant hiring announcements, RIFs and downsizings.