The stock market is in a triple digit rally. The Dow touched 14-thousand this morning, after the government released its January unemployment report.
Crowds packed into this job fair in New York. Philip McGonigle has been freelancing in the television industry… but needs a steadier paycheck. McGonigle said, "I am looking to transition out of that freelance arena into a more stable full time position, perhaps making a career transition into a totally different field altogether."
McGonigle says the job market is starting to look better...and the latest news from the labor department shows a slow but steady improvement. The economy added 157-thousand new jobs in January. Retail, construction and health care all showed gains.
But with more people entering the job market, the overall unemployment rate ticked up a notch to 7.9%.
The job news was right about in line with what Wall Street had predicted. The economic recovery may be painfully slow...but it seems to be still on track.
The labor report also revised the hiring picture over the last two years showing monthly job gains were better than previously thought. The nation gained an average of about 180-thousand jobs a month.
Arthur Cashin of UBS Financial Services said, "They added more jobs last year than we thought. So while that's a little bit of an afterthought, it's encouraging."
But for the long-term unemployed it's still a struggle.
McGonigle said, "The most frustrating part is the longer I'm out of a full time job, the more difficult it is."
The nation has gained back 6-million jobs since the recession...but twice that many people are still looking for work.
40-percent of America's job hunters are considered long-term unemployed… meaning they've been out of work for six months or longer.
A monthly economic index for nine Midwest and Plains states rose above a growth neutral level last month, pointing to slow growth for the region over the next three to six months.
The Mid-America Business Conditions index hit 53.2 in January, up from 49.5 in December and 48.0 in November.
Creighton University economist Ernie Goss oversees the survey, and he noted that the region's manufacturing sector ``moved sideways to slightly down'' over January.
The survey of business leaders and supply managers uses a collection of indexes ranging from zero to 100. Survey organizers say any score above 50 suggests growth while a score below 50 suggests decline for that factor.
The survey covers Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota.