Today’s employment situation report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics was overall very positive. Employer payrolls increased by 280,000 and while the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 5.5 percent, the uptick was attributed to more Americans re-entering the labor force due to increased confidence about finding employment.
"John Challenger, CEO of outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, thinks that declining participation might also reflect an increasingly fluid job market.
As of March, there were still more than 3.7 million Americans who have been unemployed for six months or longer. While the number of long-term unemployed as fallen dramatically from a peak of more than 7.0 million, it remains well above pre-recession levels when an average about 1.2 million Americans were unemployed for 27 weeks or longer. Some have argued that extended emergency unemployment benefits, which maxed out at 99 weeks, have contributed to long-term unemployment by acting as a disincentive to find a job.
After nearly five years of slow but steady job gains, the number of Americans out of work for six months or longer has remained stubbornly high. However, according to one employment authority, the jobs recovery is approaching a tipping point that could see a rapid acceleration of hiring among those who have been out of work the longest.
Job Seekers More Confident in New Survey
1 IN 4 FEEL NEW JOB IS WITHIN 3 MONTHS; BUT JOB-SEARCH CHALLENGES PERSIST
As the economy and job market continue to regain strength, job seekers are slowly becoming more confident, as evidenced by a survey of callers to an annual job-search advice hotline, 63 percent of whom believed they would find new employment in under six months. That was up from 55 percent who said the same a year ago.