They say employment figures are a “lagging indicator” which is stock market speak for measurements that we look back on for perspective. That is, economic growth happens first, then employment picks up. This makes logical sense because obviously, companies don’t start hiring before new business picks up. But once new orders come rolling in for all manners of products and services, companies scramble to hire in order to accommodate the increasing demand. This is why it is so heartening to see the following chart showing the employment figures over the last two years. Follow me over the jump for analysis.The graph above, courtesy of Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen shows the collapse of the employment market that began in January of 2008 as we began to lose jobs. The bottom of the collapse seems to have happened in January of 2009. Since that time, the market has continued to shed jobs, but the clear trend is that those losses continued to slow and have recently turned into net gains. Since these kinds of trends are very incremental, it is highly improbable that they will reverse course. Even more exciting is that the recently passed health insurance reform will bring 36 million new patients into the medical system in short order. This spike in demand for medical personnel of every stripe will certainly mean a commensurate spike in hiring in this field. The trend is now, officially, your friend.