U.S. hiring drive projected to continue running strong this year

Some of the U.S.' largest firms increased the size of their staffs last year, capitalizing on gains they had made, according to USA Today.

The nation's biggest companies collectively added 4.2 percent more net jobs in 2011, the publication noted, citing information from S&P Capital IQ. Caterpillar, Jabil Circuit and Qualcomm are among those companies that helped add nearly 744,000 new jobs last year, but the total is not specific to the U.S.

"It's refreshing to see these job gains at these large companies," Jack Ablin with Harris Private Bank told the news source.

Strong job reports and returns thus far this year are likely to last and resume as 2012 continues, according to The Associated Press. Officials are managing to grasp ahold of the sovereign debt crisis, the U.S. housing market is improving, Congress is seeing less gridlock and the economy and job markets are more durable than they were last year.

Banks in the U.S. are more inclined to lend to businesses and they are lending more money, and the pace of government cuts at the state and local level is pulling back. Plus the debt standoff in the U.S. between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans has subsided.