The unemployment rate, while still languishing at a discouraging 9.4 percent, has seen improvement in recent months that is encouraging for many sectors of the industry.[IMAGE]
A report released Wednesday by credit rating agency ""DBRS"":http://www.dbrs.com/ said layoffs and discharges in the private job sector have stayed down, helping to reduce early delinquencies in consumer and mortgage credit.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""Contrary to the headlines,"" the report says, ""the private sector is hiring a large number of employees every month, just not enough to significantly outpace the current pace of voluntary and involuntary job separations and reduce unemployment.""
DBRS says these voluntary quits usually pose less of a credit risk for banks than layoffs and discharges, but employment as a whole must dramatically improve before banks can see significant advances in credit costs.
Since February 2010, monthly hiring has exceeded monthly separations, but only by a small amount.
In November there were 3.92 million hires and 3.82 million separations, making for a 101,000 gap in the positive. In October that gap was 165,000 and in September it was 192,000.
The slow but seemingly steady lowering of the unemployment rate, coupled with government-sponsored programs aiming to help struggling homeowners bridge the gap while looking for work, paints a tentatively positive picture for the recovery.