Finally we're actually getting good news on the jobs front. But before you start popping the champagne, let's break it down.
The private sector served up a surge of hiring in June, but new claims for unemployment insurance remain high.
Businesses added 157,000 jobs, a solid jump after the weak 36,000 increase in May. This was better than economists had expected, but we're still off of the 200,000-monthly job creation pace of the first quarter.
But guess what, it's not big business that we have to thank for the burst of hiring. Those with 500 employees or more added only 10,000 new employees. Compare that to businesses with under 50 workers - they hired 88,000 thousand new people!
As if we needed more proof small businesses are the cornerstone of this economy. They are on the front line of the American dream, growing and prospering despite all the hurdles this government continues to throw at them.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department said unemployment claims fell for the first time in three weeks to 418,000- way better than forecast. As the Wall Street Journal points out - the decline would have been even greater if it wasn't for the government shutdown in Minnesota sending 2,500 state employees to the unemployment lines.
However the jobless claims were still well above the 400,000 mark. Economists agree we need to see claims drop below that level on a sustained basis to signal stronger job creation. The figures gave a mixed picture ahead of the release of the government's official jobs figures for June tomorrow.
Experts are forecasting an addition of about 90,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 9.1%. Just to clarify, today's hiring numbers are just reflective of the private sector. Tomorrow's report will include government jobs, which have been seeing major declines in the last few months.
Another disturbing trend of late - the jobs crisis is not treating men and women equally. Since the end of the recession men have gained 768,000 jobs, while women have lost 218,000.
Many experts blame this on the resurgence of male-dominated industries such as manufacturing. Also, more women work in the public sector - which has been seeing layoffs increase as a way for governments to save money.
Bottom line - if we want a recovery that includes the creation of jobs in this country then the focus should be on creating the most nurturing environment for small-business owners.
D.C., are you listening?
As you debate the pros and cons of tax hikes or spending cuts, remember the impact your decisions have on business owners. Not only do they need opportunities to grow more than they already are& they also vote.
Gerri Willis is the host of "The Willis Report" (5PM/ET), a primetime program that covers the leading financial and political stories of the day and their impact on consumers. Click here to see more from Gerri Willis.