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The Employment Report -- Good Enough For Now

02 Apr 2010
Posted by Andrew Samwick

Hot off the virtual press is the Employment Report for March.  The key numbers are:

  • Total nonfarm employment was up 162,000, with 48,000 accounted for by the hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010.
  • Nonfarm employment growth in the prior two months was revised upward by a combined 62,000 jobs.
  • Manufacturing employment was up 17,000, with 45,000 jobs added over the past three months.
  • Temporary help services added 40,000 jobs over the month and over 300,000 jobs since September.
  • Total unemployment stayed at 9.7 percent, with net job gains in the household survey offset by increases in the labor force.
  • The composition of the unemployed shifted toward those unemployed for longer than 26 weeks.

I say that this report is good enough for now because this is what the labor market looks like when it starts to bottom out and slowly recover -- overall job growth turns small and positive, cyclically sensitive sectors like temporary help services grow more rapidly than most, and it is tough to make progress against the unemployment rate because the number of job seekers may go up in tandem with total employment.  I was at CEA in 2003-4 as the labor market went through the bottom of its last cycle, and I am having a little deja vu.

Economy Improving ?

Crickets from the peanut gallery....very telling. It's almost as if some of the commenters here have a political axe to grind.

Face it, naysayers. The Obama administration managed to turn around the worst economic situation we've seen in a long time, and it only took a year. We've got a long way to go, but we're finally making investments that will generate much higher levels of overall economic activity in the future (think many Americans switching to electric vehicles, for example), and that economic activity will help reduce both the deficit and the overall debt.

no crickets here...

It would be nice if the statistics broke down the numbers better. I'd like to see a clear declaration as to the number of new Census jobs.

More here...


Well, if you were unemployed or underemployed the picture would not look quite so rosy. Sorry, but sounds like some who worked for that phony cowboy Dubya (I'm a GOPer so nothing partisan).

We will need years to dig out of this hole (regardless of who might be in the White House) and the misery will run long and deep.

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