NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A week after President Obama said he would work with CEOs to return the long-term unemployed to the work force, the January jobs report on Friday failed to boost optimism in the U.S. economy.
And despite the president's plan to reward companies for hiring those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer -- which he discussed at a roundtable with successful chief executives -- it remains a long-shot initiative to fundamentally shift the sluggish labor recovery.
"Jobs are hard to create. I think people don't understand that," said Lee Munson, chief investment officer at Portfolio LLC, in a telephone interview. "Over the last 10 to 15 years companies are more interested in hiring the right people. There's a reason why companies don't hire long-term unemployed: They lack skills and the motivation."
But like most top-line data, these headline-grabbing numbers failed to communicate the full complexity of this latest report. There were in fact unexpected bright spots in the employment situation: Some sectors are adding jobs, in significant numbers, even as others are still shedding them.
Here are three areas where the labor market is picking up steam, and three in which it continues to sputter.