Since the economic collapse that shook the U.S. and world markets in 2008, unemployment has been one of the most divisive issues in economic news. However, a report from the Department of Labor in December showed that national unemployment levels had reached their lowest point in three and a half years – an encouraging year-end sign for struggling workers and businesses. Despite this, many economists and business leaders wondered how that news would translate with the coming of 2012.
According to MoneyWatch, 200,000 new positions were added to the U.S. job market in December. That number bolsters the 1.6 million non-farm jobs added over the last year. In addition, manufacturing, healthcare and housing have all shown signs of improvement.
However, economists remain cautious about over-emphasizing growth too early in 2012.
"While positive, it's important to contain optimism about the outlook in the months ahead, said Plante Moran Financial Advisors chief investment strategist Jim Bard to Reuters. "The economy is still pushing forward, but many hurdles to further acceleration remain."
Reuters reports that at December's recovery pace, it would still take about two and a half years to replenish the job market to its pre-2008 levels.