Grim unemployment figures are disguising the fact that hiring has stayed surprisingly strong in the midst of the worst postwar recession, economists tell the New York Times. In February—long before any hint of recovery emerged—4.8 million workers lost their jobs, but 4.3 million people were hired, figures one expert says points at the essential "dynamism of the US economy."
More than four people remain out of work for every new job that opens up, but even companies with hiring freezes must fill new vacancies to keep head count constant. Firms that are expanding can afford to be picky. "What you have to be afraid of is hiring someone who can’t find something better at the time," says a grocery-chain exec. "I want to hire someone who will make a career of it."