Economy adds only 88,000 jobs in March

That's about 70,000 below the break even level. About 150,000 adults enter the workforce every month and not generating even replacement level job numbers means the unemployment rate went up, right?

Obviously, you don't compute like a government bureaucrat.

Washington Post:

U.S. employers added just 88,000 jobs in March, the fewest in nine months and a sharp retreat after a period of strong hiring. The slowdown is a reminder that the job market's path back to full health will be uneven.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent from 7.7 percent. While that is the lowest rate in four years, it fell last month only because more people stopped looking for work. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively looking for a job.

First, there was no period of "strong hiring" despite the Post's spin. The average monthly gain was about 200,000. It would take 7 years generating that number of jobs monthly to reach 2006 employment levels.

Here's the real news:

The percentage of Americans working or looking for jobs fell to 63.3 percent in March, the lowest in nearly 34 years.


Several industries cut back sharply on hiring in March. Retailers cut 24,000 jobs after averaging 32,000 in the previous three months. Manufacturers cut 3,000 jobs after adding 19,000 the previous month. Financial services shed 2,000.

Economists say the decline in the work force reflects several trends: many of those out of work become discouraged and give up on their job hunts. And as the population ages, more people are retiring.

The U-6 number of total unemployed actually dropped to 13.8% from 14.3% last month thanks to fewer long term unemployed seeking work and a drop in the total unemployed plus discouraged workers number. But taken together, it is a dismal picture and most economists believe the trend will contrinue until the 4th quarter this year.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky