Jobs. Everyone’s talking about them lately. Depending on who you decide to listen to, things are either starting to improve or they’re not.

A report came out saying job losses are drastically slowing down. Private sector job losses were around 203,000 for October, higher than expected but lower than it’s been on a monthly basis. Unemployment sits at 9.8% still, although it’s predicted that, after calculations, the number will push up to 9.9%. That’s still pretty high.

Also, last week President Obama announced that the stimulus package saved jobs, mainly in education, and created or saved around 640,000 jobs. The Wall Street Journal reduced that figure by 20,000 later on. The Republicans immediately challenged both, saying there’s no way to calculate jobs either created or saved like that. I’m trying to figure this one out also; how would they know? The administration said the report wasn’t 100% accurate, and it seems to be based on questioning people who got money from the stimulus package, which includes some folks you wouldn’t have thought would have gotten money; so be it.

Then we follow both of the above up with the story that Johnson & Johnson is going to be cutting around 8,000 jobs to cut costs, around $1.7 billion worth. I didn’t check to see if their stock price went up because of the announcement. That figure is around 7% of its entire workforce; yeah, I’d say that’s significant. It was around December last year when suddenly we started hearing of all these companies laying off high numbers of people. Are we about to experience something like that again?

Depends on some factors. One, the fallout from the two commercial loan giants that just declared bankruptcy; will they be the only ones (no)? Two, did most of the companies that needed to lay off high numbers of employees last year get it out of the way? Three, will this retail year show that some people believe the recession is over, or do many of us trust that just yet?

And, of course, more people are continuing to fall off unemployment and still not have jobs, which means there will be a high number of under counted people unemployed. There’s really nothing to do about that one.

Even President Obama said Monday that more job losses were coming, and that the pace to create new jobs is going to lag; I guess that answers that.