Do the Positive Job Numbers Indicate a Comeback?

There is positive growth but long-term job market unclear.

April 02, 2010, 6:57 AM

April 2, 2010— -- The March jobs numbers released this morning showed the highest monthly growth in three years, but it remains to be seen whether the 162,000 added jobs reflect a trend or a temporary fix.

"What we are seeing is this is a recovery that is being led by corporate profits, not like previous recoveries and I do think we have seen the bottom, "Good Morning America" contributor Suzy Welch said today before the numbers were announced. "Not that we are going to shoot straight up but I do think we have seen the bottom, all the indicators show positive signs."

Unemployment still remains a problem in many parts of the country, with the national average at 9.7 percent and nearly 15 million people seeking work.

Treasury Secretary Geithner warned earlier this week that unemployment will be unacceptably high for an extended period of time. Welch said unemployment will be higher than preferred because employers will begin hiring workers at a deliberate pace.

"Companies are going to be very slow and they are going to be cautiously optimistic, with the emphasis on cautious, in bringing people back in," Welch, a noted business journalist and author, said. "They don't want to go through what they went through before. They don't want to let people go. They have been able to bring in profits with fewer people. And so I think we will not see rapid job growth in the way that anyone will want. So we are with these numbers for a while now."

While the economy could be aided by the U.S. Census Bureau as it starts to hire the more than 1 million temporary workers needed to help complete the once-in-a-decade head count, most of those jobs are expected to end by the summer.

"The big question mark is, number one, how much are the census hirings, these temporary census hiring workers, how much are they going to distort the numbers," former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said on "Good Morning America" today before the March jobs numbers were released. "But number two, can it be sustained because the good job numbers are in part a result of the stimulus, really at its peak right now."

Can the Government Help the Recovery?

The government can do even more to help small business, Reich said, by giving them more credit to borrow.

"They are the engines of job growth," he said. "They are still having a difficult time getting, borrowing the money they need."

Reich added that the government could also help state and local governments with their deficits but, Welch cautioned, helping them too much could anger small business owners.

"You have to remember that small business has been through a car wreck," she said. "They feel as if they just had the wind kicked out of them."

"If you keep on stimulating the public sector, small business is going to look at it and say, 'What about the real economy? What about us? Where is the stimulus for us," Welch said.

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