Today, private staffing and business services firm ADP released the latest installment of their National Employment Report indicating that the situation for private employment in the U.S. improved in January as private employers added 170,000 jobs in the month bringing the total employment level 1.77% above the level seen in January 2011.
Looking at the chart (click for full-screen dynamic version) showing ADP’s total private nonfarm payrolls since 2001 as well as the year-over-year and month-to-month percent change, you can see that while the job recovery had been anemic throughout most of 2010, more recently the trend had been picking up momentum.
Although the level of jobs is still far below the peak seen in late 2007 and still near the lows seen during the worst period of the "dot-com" recession, the bottom looks to be clearly defined and the trend is looking comparable to past recoveries.
Perusing the rest of the data in the ADP dataset you can see the the economy is currently showing the most growth for small to mid-sized service providing jobs with goods-producing jobs remaining near trough levels.
Look for Friday’s BLS Employment Situation Report to likely show somewhat similar trends.