Yet another economic component the Great Recession negatively impacted shows signs of improvement. The revised, fourth-quarter 2015 GDP of 1.4% outpaced estimates and finished the year on a decided upswing.
The momentum of 2015 has continued into 2016, with consumer spending up -- albeit at a small rate -- per Gallup survey data.
So what does that mean for the job market?
According to a late 2014 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report analyzing consumer spending's correlation to job prospects, "the percentage of U.S. jobs tied to consumption has fluctuated within a relatively stable range since the late 1970s because of labor-saving technologies and increased consumption of imports."
However, that relatively stability dipped when the recession took hold in 2008.
Consumer spending as part of the GDP actually spiked during the recession. Not surprisingly, careers tied to consumer demand were among the few to see employment gains during that time. Healthcare sector jobs increased during the recession, and are expected to be some of the highest growth fields in the decade to come, but consumer spending as a whole is forecasted to level out.
Baby Boomers leaving the job market but spending more on healthcare should contribute to this. The forecast also points to employment growth in other sectors.
For example, the recession devastated construction hiring, which bottomed out in early 2011. Construction employment's been on a steady climb since, inching back toward 2007 heights.
Financial sector hiring hit rock-bottom at the same time as construction. Its rebound has been more pronounced. As of early 2016, financial industry employment stands at 8.2 million; 8.4 million marked the industry's pre-recession high.
Though hardly the most important gauge, consumer spending as part of the GDP can be a barometer for most promising job markets.