Evan Horowitz

Some good news, some bad in Thursday’s jobs numbers

When the nationwide jobs numbers came out two weeks ago, they showed jobs going up, and also down. That may sound impossible, but it happens occasionally because the numbers come from two different sources, and those sources don’t always agree.

The same thing happened today in Massachusetts. One survey showed that 9,700 more people in Massachusetts had jobs, the other suggested that there were 1,600 fewer jobs. At this point, it’s impossible to say which is right, but the very fact that there’s no clear trend means we’re still not experiencing the kind of rapid growth you would expect during an economic recovery.

If you’re looking for a bit of good news, the employment:population ratio continues to tick up. It is one one of the broadest measures we have for the health of our job market, and while it’s still well below pre-recession levels it does seem to be moving in the right direction.

Employment-Population ratio

More by Evan Horowitz:

-- More jobs, fewer people working. How did that happen?

-- Look beyond unemployment numbers in job market

-- Nine things you need to know about unemployment insurance

Evan Horowitz digs through data to find information that illuminates the policy issues facing Massachusetts and the U.S. He can be reached at evan.horowitz@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeHorowitz