Jobs Declines Slow, Could Turn Around in March

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

Job declines slowed to just 20,000 in February, the lowest number in two years, leading to talk of a turnaround in March. Medium-sized businesses actually gained jobs in February, as the did service-providing sector.

High unemployment rates, which have been cause of increasing concern among observers who say their stagnation could harm the economic recovery, may be close to reversing themselves.

And actual hiring could mean more PC purchases, software purchases and services purchases through IT solution providers as companies look to equip new staff members.

While private sector employment declined by another 20,000 jobs in February, according to the ADP National Employment Report released March 3, the number marked the smallest decline since employment began falling in February 2008.

That, plus other signs, indicates employment numbers may soon begin to increase again, according to Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisors, which releases the report on a monthly basis together with human resources and payroll outsourcing firm ADP.

"If the recent trend continues, and given first-quarter GDP growth of 5.9 percent, private employment could rise next month for the first time in two years," he said in a statement.

Small business employment declined by 18,000, large business employment declined by 10,000 and medium-sized business employment increased by 8,000.

The goods-producing sector lost 37,000 jobs while the service-providing sector gained 17,000 jobs.

Breaking out small business trends, the ADP Small Business Report noted that while small business lost a total of 18,000 jobs in February, that total came from 25,000 lost jobs in the goods-producing sector and 7,000 gained jobs in the service-producing sector.

Prakken noted the small business total marked the smallest decline since April of 2008, and that the service-sector increase marked the second month that sector had seen an increase for small business.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com