Big drop in job creation in March

The US employment outlook took a big hit in March, as only 126,000 jobs were created - "unexpectedly." Economists estimated that 245,000 jobs would be added. The "official" unemployment rate stayed at 5.5%.

They are blaming the weather, of course.

New York Times:

After a year in which job gains exceeded 200,000 every month, the sharp deceleration in March confirmed other worrying signs in the economy, which grew 2.2 percent last year, lost some momentum in this year’s first quarter, reinforced by the disappointing jobs numbers on Friday.

The slowdown is likely to reinforce the view among the more dovish policy makers at the Federal Reserve that interest rates should stay near zero a while longer because the economy is still not strong enough to stand on its own.

Speaking at a conference in San Francisco last week, Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, was more cautious in her assessment of the economy than some of her colleagues at the Fed. Ms. Yellen noted “continued improvement in economic conditions,” particularly a strengthening labor market, while acknowledging some of the other anemic indicators.

Durable goods orders declined in February while retail sales were weak despite increases in household disposable income resulting from lower oil prices, perhaps because of punishing winter weather in some parts of the country.

Although the trade deficit narrowed in February, the strong dollar, particularly as compared with the euro, has made American goods expensive for foreign consumers and been hurting the country’s exports.

Growth in manufacturing is also off to a slower start this year than some economists had hoped. But more encouraging economic reports could be found in other quarters this week.

The Labor Department announced that the number of Americans filing for unemployment last week fell to a 15-year low with 268,000 new claims filed last week. That brings the four-week moving average — a better indicator because it smooths out the normal bumps in the road — to an encouraging 285,500.

The bellweather labor participation rate shrank last month to 62.7%, down from 62.8% in Februrary. Also, revisions in January and February numbers reduced the jobs created by 69,000.

The loss of jobs in the energy sector is worrisome, but not unexpected. The price of oil hasn't hit bottom yet and until it does, drillers are going to be cautious.

Signs point to a typical Obama economy; weak growth, anemic jobs numbers, falling participation in the labor force, and non-existent increases in wages.

You're doing a helluva job, Barry.

The US employment outlook took a big hit in March, as only 126,000 jobs were created - "unexpectedly." Economists estimated that 245,000 jobs would be added. The "official" unemployment rate stayed at 5.5%.

They are blaming the weather, of course.

New York Times:

After a year in which job gains exceeded 200,000 every month, the sharp deceleration in March confirmed other worrying signs in the economy, which grew 2.2 percent last year, lost some momentum in this year’s first quarter, reinforced by the disappointing jobs numbers on Friday.

The slowdown is likely to reinforce the view among the more dovish policy makers at the Federal Reserve that interest rates should stay near zero a while longer because the economy is still not strong enough to stand on its own.

Speaking at a conference in San Francisco last week, Janet L. Yellen, the Federal Reserve chairwoman, was more cautious in her assessment of the economy than some of her colleagues at the Fed. Ms. Yellen noted “continued improvement in economic conditions,” particularly a strengthening labor market, while acknowledging some of the other anemic indicators.

Durable goods orders declined in February while retail sales were weak despite increases in household disposable income resulting from lower oil prices, perhaps because of punishing winter weather in some parts of the country.

Although the trade deficit narrowed in February, the strong dollar, particularly as compared with the euro, has made American goods expensive for foreign consumers and been hurting the country’s exports.

Growth in manufacturing is also off to a slower start this year than some economists had hoped. But more encouraging economic reports could be found in other quarters this week.

The Labor Department announced that the number of Americans filing for unemployment last week fell to a 15-year low with 268,000 new claims filed last week. That brings the four-week moving average — a better indicator because it smooths out the normal bumps in the road — to an encouraging 285,500.

The bellweather labor participation rate shrank last month to 62.7%, down from 62.8% in Februrary. Also, revisions in January and February numbers reduced the jobs created by 69,000.

The loss of jobs in the energy sector is worrisome, but not unexpected. The price of oil hasn't hit bottom yet and until it does, drillers are going to be cautious.

Signs point to a typical Obama economy; weak growth, anemic jobs numbers, falling participation in the labor force, and non-existent increases in wages.

You're doing a helluva job, Barry.