While the economy is still nowhere near excitingly high bubble-like numbers, it's been improving steadily and is much less of an employee-saturated environment. The most recent Pew poll reflects a 10% rise in economic optimism from last month and a majority of respondents saying they feel the economy is already or will soon be recovering.
The most recent BLS report says:Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in professional and businesses services, health care and social assistance, leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and mining.
Things are considerably less bright depending on where you live. While Chester County (PA) held a 5.4% unemployment rate in December 2011, Salem (NJ) and Philadelphia (PA) counties saw unemployment rates of 10.7% and 10.1% respectively, in that same timeframe.
Even still, unemployment for the entire Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington statistical area has improved over the previous year. And a recent Bloomberg BusinessWeek article states that "Manufacturing in the Philadelphia region expanded in March at the fastest pace in almost a year as factory employment picked up." Philly.com reports that now is the time for teens and students to start looking for summer jobs, and provides some excellent resources to help get started.