The U.S. jobless rate rose slightly to 9.6 from 9.5 percent in August, but some experts are saying this may actually be a good sign for the economy.
While the latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that unemployment is on the rise, this increase reflects an expanding American workforce, as 550,000 jobless people joined or re-joined the search for employment in August. While economic recovery is still moving at a very slow pace, Tig Gillium, CEO of the largest staffing firm in the world, told HuffPost that the August employment statistics are "slightly better than everyone expected."
"July raised the big question of deceleration," Gillium said. "Everyone wanted to talk about a double-dip recession. But even an improving job market is going to see an uptick in unemployment -- it's okay as long as we're still producing private sector jobs each month, and August saw an addition of 67,000 private sector jobs. This is still a reasonable pace of job growth and consistent with what was happening before."
Overall, August saw little change in jobs data. The number of long-term unemployed Americans declined by 323,000 in August, but government employment fell slightly too, as 114,000 temporary jobs ended with the completion of the census. Gillium said the one major disappointment in the new data was the lack of improvement in the average number of hours Americans are working each week, which remained steady at 34.2.
"That number indicates to what extent companies are fully using the employees they have. As a recovery takes place, people who are working part-time are brought back for more hours, and companies who were hiring temp workers start to bring in more full-time employees. We still need to see this number rise--something closer to 35 hours would be ideal," he said.
The U.S. might see a drop in unemployment soon, Gillium said, as employers tend to hire more in September and October than they do in the summer. But ultimately, what's going to prevent a double-dip recession has little to do with the actual jobs numbers.
"So much of an economic recovery is based on confidence," he said. "This report shows that the recovery is progressing--maybe not as fast a pace as in the late first quarter, but it is progressing. That should have the effect of creating enough confidence that people don't panic and create our own double-dip recession."
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