Last week, I took an in-depth look at the employment situation (see here, here, here and here). After looking at the data, there are my thoughts
Despite being responsible for a fairly large percentage of GDP growth, manufacturing jobs just aren't growing by a large amount. There are a lot of reasons for this, but I believe the biggest one is the increased use of automation in the manufacturing process. It just doesn't take that many people to make things anymore -- a trend which is probably going to continue for the foreseeable future.
I thought it was interesting that financial jobs are still declining. This indicates there was a glut of jobs in this area at the top of the last expansion.
The relative weakness in retail jobs adds credence to the "lack of demand" arguments regarding the economy as a whole.
Education and health care jobs were more or less immune to the recession -- although, in fairness, I think the real issue here is the continued growth in health care jobs rather than education jobs.
The continual, slow bleed of government jobs is a huge problem, and one that cannot be over-stated. As I've stated many times, I believe this continual, slow-bleed is responsible for initial unemployment claims hovering around the 400,000 mark for most of this year.
Professional job growth has actually been pretty fair.
However, at the heart of the issue is slow growth in relation to total jobs lost. This is the biggest problem we face. While the worst of the job losses is over, the lack of meaningful job gains is what is really driving people's concerns. And while the economy has created over 2 million jobs during the expansion, this rate of creation has not made a dent in the unemployment rate. That is the real issue we face.