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Jobs Data Reveals Unexpectedly Good News

Wall Street Journal (04/02/12) Justin Lahart

For the three months through February, the U.S. added an average of 245,000 payrolls, marking the strongest gains since 2006. Economists are expecting Friday’s jobs report for March to show a gain of 210,000 jobs. Observers say the actual employment picture may be even better than the headline job figures have shown.

The jobs data can have a hard time capturing the scope of employment gains when the job market is recovering, and evidence is increasing that is what is now happening. The payroll survey only polls established firms, and so misses employment gains at the very young companies that have historically fueled U.S. job growth. A separate survey of households that the unemployment rate is based on suggests stronger job gains, as does a census of employment in the third quarter that the Labor Department released last week, covering nearly the entirety of the U.S. job market.