Is it good news, is it bad news, who can tell?

The news has been vacillating all over the place of late regarding the nation's job prospects ... from "slowly improving" White House braces unemployed for slow job rebound to things getting worse Jobless Claims in U.S. Increased Heading Into Easter to being fairly indecisive Confidence Down Another Two Points, to the strident warnings of industry Cassandras.

Of course, the key measure for the out-of-work individual is how THEIR job search is going. Frankly, I have a small computer-like mental loop constantly operating in my brain that goes something like this: Q: Do I have a job? A: yes/no ... if "yes" - great, let's get working! ... if "no" - do something to get a job! (unfortunately, this pretty much runs 24/7 leaving me unable to comfortably take any time off the job search). By this standard, we're in the absolute worst depths of the worst ever depression because I'm coming up on 12 months of not having a job!

However, you might have worried just how bad the current job market is ... I know that I've wondered how far "down" is "down". I ran across this graphic from the Wall Street Journal (click through to the original for an interactive version that will show the rate month-by-month since 1948), which I think is interesting (the range was from 2.5% to 10.4% on that grid):



I guess it also matters a lot where one lives ... heck, I'm a "city kid" and I've been tempted enough by those numbers that I've even sent resumes off for jobs in Nebraska (while I guess I'd learn to live with it, I'm not sure that my kids would ever forgive me)! Now, Chicago's not on that chart (again, click on the thumbnail to go to the original), but those red bars are cities over 15% unemployed and Rockford, Kankakee, and Danville are there, with Rockford nearly at 20% ... which makes the under-5% rate for a Fargo look pretty tempting!

Anyway, how are your job searches going?  After having a couple of hopeful months, I'm "back to square one", unfortunately, with a bunch of phone and follow-up interviews all ending up in the "we're going in a different direction" zone.  Pretty depressing.  I'd be interested to hear from readers what's happening with them!

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