The March employment report extends the long slate of disappointing data over
the past month during which two out of every three economic releases missed to
the downside (something the equity market only ﬁgured out in recent days).
Nonfarm payrolls came in almost half of what the consensus had been
expecting, with the 120k headline also half the tally posted in February and a
visible slowing from the near-250k average readings in the prior two months.
There was a dramatic slowing in private-service producing jobs — they went from
recording a 204k increase in the previous month to just 90k this month (this is
the lowest monthly increase since August)...
To put the contours of this recovery into some perspective. only 3.6 million of
the 8.8 million jobs lost during the recession have been recouped (or 41% of the
damage). This is a travesty, pure and simple. At the rate we are going, it would
not be until 2015 before we would see a peak again, and far longer than that
when adjusted for natural population growth. The labour market is one critical
part of the economic landscape that is in the process of healing but has hardly
healed. and until it does, one can reasonably expect the economy to remain on
fragile terrain and I am sure we have not heard the last of the ‘‘double dip"
scares that undermined investor sentiment in a serious way twice in the first two
years of this nascent expansion.
See also Stiglitz: Full Employment by 2025