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Could It Really Be Over — Finally?

I’ve been lucky enough to stay employed throughout this long, deep recession. But when I read the bulk email this morning from the Commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and learned that the economy had added 162,000 jobs in March — and, in a correction, 14,000 each in January and February — I got a tiny taste of what it must feel like to learn that a war is over and our side won. Serious elation.

I realize, of course, that there’s still a great deal of unemployment-related suffering out there, and that the suffering will continue for months or years to come. The unemployment rate didn’t budge, after all, and 40,000+ of the jobs added in March are temporary census jobs.

Yet, with three straight months of added jobs, the third month with substantial gains, it feels like we’ve turned a corner. The gains were fairly uniform; even manufacturing added jobs, and construction held steady. Those are good signs. Add in March’s up-tick in the number of online job ads in
most STEM-related categories and there’s good reason to be hopeful. With continued enlightened government policies, there’s reason to expect the scientific job market to begin to grow again at a healthy pace. I’ve got my fingers crossed.