It's hard to be positive about the overall jobs picture. But August's employment report had some good news, including private sector employment increasing by a better than expected 67,000.
This is on top of the upwardly revised increase of 107,000 jobs in July (the initial report was an increase of 71,000 jobs).
Despite the increase in net jobs the unemployment rate went up slightly from 9.5% in July to 9.6% in August.
The reason I can call this good news is due to the way the unemployment rate is calculated. "Discouraged workers" - defined as those not actively looking for a job - are not included in the unemployment rate calculations. In August a large number of discouraged workers starting looking for a job, which led to the slight increase in the unemployment rate despite the hiring increase.
Discouraged workers tend to start looking for jobs when they think business conditions are improving and their chances of finding work are increasing. Historically the return of discouraged workers to the job market has been a sign that the economy is improving.
Don't get me wrong - the overall employment situation continues to be a mess. But in these trying economic times I don't turn down good news of any kind.