The U.S. Job Market Just Hit Another Milestone

Full-time jobs are back on top

El-Erian: Jobs Report Creates Uncertain, Tentative Fed

The U.S. economy reached its latest milestone in August, with the number of full-time jobs soaring to a new record.

The level climbed to 122 million, exceeding the prior peak reached in November 2007, a month before the recession started. A full-time worker is defined by the Labor Department as one who works 35 hours or more a week.

Meanwhile, part-time employment fell to the lowest level since February 2011. 

It's undoubtedly good news that employers are finally feeling confident enough in the expansion to commit to adding full-time positions. Still, Friday's milestone is also a reminder that it's taken more than six years to get to this point. 

"We've definitely made a lot of progress," said Omair Sharif, a rate sales strategist at SG Americas Securities LLC in New York. That doesn't mean the job market is fully back to its pre-recession health.

Consider the number of full-time jobs as a share of total employment, which stood at 81.9 percent in August. That compares with an average of 83 percent before the recession.

That's just one more thing for Federal Reserve officials to keep in mind as they consider raising interest rates for the first time since 2006. 

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