Wednesday, December 10, 2003

It's a big headline on the title screen of the New York Times Web site, and it's a front-page story in the print edition: Restaurant Hiring May Lead the Way to Wider Job Gains. The story begins:

The restaurant industry has gone on a hiring spree over the last four months, suggesting that broader gains in the job market could be on the way.

But go to the story and look at the graph. It's tucked away on the side of the page; in the print edition it's on the jump, on page C2. The increases in employment this year are less than they were in January 2002 -- when increases absolutely weren't an early sign of a general job boom -- and are much less than those in 1991 and 1992 (a period that technically wasn't recessionary but sure felt like a recession for a lot of workers).

This hiring does suggest that we've touched bottom -- but it sure doesn't look like the sign of a boom.

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