Jobs report: Only 88,000 jobs added; Update: “This is a punch to the gut”

posted at 8:33 am on April 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

The new jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics came in well under even pessimistic expectations.  The US economy only added 88,000 jobs in March, while nearly a half-million people left the work force:

Nonfarm payroll employment edged up in March (+88,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment grew in professional and business services and in health care but declined in retail trade. …

The civilian labor force declined by 496,000 over the month, and the labor force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 63.3 percent. The employment- population ratio, at 58.5 percent, changed little. (See table A-1.)

Needless to say, this is quite a stinker.  The jobs added fall far short of the 125K-150K needed just to keep up with population growth.  The exodus from the workforce is even worse.  The new civilian workforce participation rate of 63.3% is the lowest seen in almost 35 years, since the fall of 1978 — an era not exactly known for a robust American economy.

It didn’t take long for Obama apologists to blame the sequester:

On the other hand, Jim also notes this:

The BLS upwardly revised the previous two months’ jobs data.  January’s figure increased 29,000 to 148,000, and February increased by 32K to go to 268K. Otherwise, the only other “good” news was a drop in the U-6 measure of underemployment and unemployment combined.  That dropped to 13.8%, the lowest of Barack Obama’s presidency — but that measure, like the U-3 topline unemployment rate, depends on the size of the workforce as a denominator.  With almost a half-million people dropping out of the workforce, a decline in this figure means less than it otherwise would.

CNBC offered this strange assessment in its spot report:

Friday’s report fell short of economist expectations of 200,000 new jobs, though it did confirm some of the weakness in recent reports.

It “fell short”? I’d say, considering it didn’t even make it halfway to those expectations.  And yes, it did confirm “some of the weakness” in earlier numbers.  Not clear why that last clause requires a “though” to link those two concepts.

The Associated Press does a little better, noting that this is the worst report in nine months for job creation:

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 in four years, the rate fell only because more people stopped looking for work. The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively looking for a job.

The unevenness — and the food-stamp economy — continues.

Update: Via Daniel Halper at the Weekly Standard, here’s the Austan Goolsbee clip Jim Pethokoukis referenced in his tweet:

Sequestration didn’t create this, and for that matter, neither did the payroll tax cut.  Consumer spending rose in January and consumer sentiment rose in February, remember?  We just have a lousy economy, strangled by regulation that keeps investors from putting capital into efforts that create jobs.


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It didn’t take long for Obama apologists to blame the sequester

Ed, the consensus of economists on Wall Street, long before the sequester became ‘permanent’, called for a .5 to 1 percent impact in GDP. And it took an expected hit on the unemployment rate.

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-gdp-impact-of-cuts-in-full-sequester-2013-1

You can’t have it both ways- a significant cut in government spending compressed into a shortened fiscal cycle- and continued growth in the labor market. If the economy had been growing at 3% to 4%, then trimming half a point from GDP would have far less impact on job growth. But when GDP was standing around 2.5%, the consequence of the sequester became far more dire.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Yesterday’s Reuters headline “Jobs up, good sign for economy”.

Today’s, no kidding “Weak job gains cast shadow on U.S. economic outlook

I hope they all spontaneously combust in the news, for dereliction of duty.

bayam, you are an eternall azz-kissing fool.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 1:16 PM

And it took an expected hit on the unemployment rate.

How can the sequester take a hit on the March unemployment rate when it hasn’t even started yet?

sentinelrules on April 5, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Just for you, bayam.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 1:17 PM

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:12 PM

The sequester is not a cut in spending but a reduction in the increased spending for 2013.

bw222 on April 5, 2013 at 1:19 PM

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:12 PM

You’re even dumber than most of us thought you were.

bw222 on April 5, 2013 at 1:20 PM

This from Richard Cohen, the otherwise Obama-azzlicker

So the $20,000 Obama is kicking back to the Treasury is a pittance that will not be missed. (What’s the difference between $789,674 and $769,674? Will the kids not go to camp? Is Hawaii out of the question for next summer? ) But 5 percent for someone making $100,000 is a different story. That’s five grand, and it well could be camp or a vacation. It is not chump change.

Obama was once poor –- although young and poor is not the same as old and poor –- so I know he can appreciate what that 5 percent can mean. The president was apparently responding to the symbolism of him living like a pasha while asking others to sacrifice. I understand. But his taking a wee haircut on his salary is just a PR stunt from the White House that’s more insulting than it is empathetic.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

The sequester is not a cut in spending but a reduction in the increased spending for 2013.

bw222 on April 5, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Relative to GDP? Not so impressive a comment from someone claiming their superior IQ.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:23 PM

…the consequence of the sequester became far more dire.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:12 PM

A shame that the Obama Campaign proposed it, pushed it, signed it into law and threatened to veto any efforts to undo it.

forest on April 5, 2013 at 1:23 PM

bayam will suffocate, in Obama’s azz.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Obama owns the sequester.

Obama owns the Arab’spring’.

Obama owns the economy.

Obama owns the disaster which the land is under him.

Obama owns Obama’care’.

Own up, bayam, or combust, from hypocrisy alone.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 1:26 PM

Relative to GDP? Not so impressive a comment from someone claiming their superior IQ.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Do you honestly think that if the sequester didn’t affect hundreds of thousands of union jobs (and hence hundreds of millions of dollars worth of union dues), Obama would actually care?

sentinelrules on April 5, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Obama’s America

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM

bayam on April 5, 2013

…no brains…no ba11s…just babbling and braying again!

KOOLAID2 on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Do you honestly think that if the sequester didn’t affect hundreds of thousands of union jobs (and hence hundreds of millions of dollars worth of union dues), Obama would actually care?

sentinelrules on April 5, 2013 at 1:32 PM

I don’t know. But what I can tell you is that White House economists accurately expressed the concerns of Wall Street when it came to the real impact of the sequester, while other said there’s nothing to worry about here.

From a historical perspective, attempts to balance the budget don’t turn out so well when you’re still on the precipice of a recovery. And of course the sequester was never a real answer to fixing the deficit. This country has known for 50 years that a graying population was going to present a unique set of financial challenges, and our leadership continues to look past real entitlement solutions, divided by ideology and political posturing.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

This country has known for 50 years that a graying population was going to present a unique set of financial challenges, and our leadership continues to look past real entitlement solutions, divided by ideology and political posturing.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Our “leadership” is trying to get elected. The electorate will not stand for entitlement solutions. You’re not going to see any reform until after this whole thing crashes down around us.

But the Dems have figured out how to win over the electorate and they’ll be in charge from now on, so don’t worry too much.

happytobehere on April 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

So bayam, you think it’s the sequester?

Sorry. not seeing it.

http://www.businessinsider.com/weak-jobs-report-not-about-the-sequester-2013-4

It’d be nice to blame the sequester (the automatic spending cuts that started in March) but it doesn’t even appear to be about that.

But that’s probably not a good enough source… lets find a better one.

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/sequestration-and-the-jobs-report/

The March jobs report came in much weaker than expected, with employers adding just 88,000 workers over the course of the month. Did sequestration – the $85 billion in mandatory budget cuts that Congress never managed to unwind, despite promises to the contrary – take a bite?

The short answer is no. At least according to the preliminary data, sequestration does not seem to be particularly at fault.

Please explain to me why the NY Times is unfairly choosing to give the sequester a pass.

gekkobear on April 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

From a historical perspective, attempts to balance the budget don’t turn out so well when you’re still on the precipice of a recovery.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Well, you see, here is where I stronglydisagree with you. We are not on a precipice of recovery. Not when the economy is being held afloat by wave after wave after wave of Quantitative easing.

sentinelrules on April 5, 2013 at 1:55 PM

And if you think the jobs report was a shock to the market today just wait until earnings reports start rolling. I suppose the dimwitted liberals will blame poor earnings and forecasts on the sequester. Let’s face it, companies are getting by on the mantra of doing more with less and Obamacare definitely is a game changer on doing more with less.

Businesses in the real world are doing everything they can right now to reduce costs. It’s unfortunate that real people working in the real world are going to continue to lose jobs as businesses continue to do what is necessary to improve their profit.

rsherwd65 on April 5, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Ah, there’s the bayam we’ve come to know.

Steve Eggleston on April 5, 2013 at 2:09 PM

I don’t know. But what I can tell you is that White House economists accurately expressed the concerns of Wall Street when it came to the real impact of the sequester, while other said there’s nothing to worry about here.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

A broken clock has the correct time twice a day; that doesn’t mean it works. If you say every day that the Republicans are causing the horrible economy, the fact that the economy is horrible still doesn’t make you right. I know this is hard stuff, but seriously, let’s make some attempt at real cause and effect here.

As an example, please point to any 1000 jobs that were lost due to the sequester. As far as we’ve seen, the two biggest effects of the sequester are that American citizens can’t visit the White House and Sasha and Malia can’t go skiing… nevermind, make that the ONE big effect.

AJsDaddie on April 5, 2013 at 2:10 PM

From a historical perspective, attempts to balance the budget don’t turn out so well when you’re still on the precipice of a recovery.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

I don’t think word means what you think it means.

happytobehere on April 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

From a historical perspective, attempts to balance the budget don’t turn out so well when you’re still on the precipice of a recovery.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

I don’t think word means what you think it means.

happytobehere on April 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

No, but I think bayam may have inadvertently come up with the single best description of the entire Obama economic policy: we’re about to go over the edge of the precipice of a recovery!

Yay precipice! Yay recovery! Remember, it takes US to spell Cyprus!!!

:)

AJsDaddie on April 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM

I don’t know.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

You can stop right there.

voiceofreason on April 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM

From a historical perspective, attempts to balance the budget don’t turn out so well when you’re still on the precipice of a recovery.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

Your propaganda machine will be on eternal “recovery” or faux crises. They make them up as they need them.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 3:07 PM

…no brains…no ba11s…just babbling and braying again!

KOOLAID2 on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

…and always attempting to derail. Makes Axelturd proud.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 3:08 PM

Relative to GDP? Not so impressive a comment from someone claiming their superior IQ.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:23 PM

Oh look, his irrelevancy has made another appearance, after running away from RWM in another thread.

Such a lying little coward, Bayam.

ShadowsPawn on April 5, 2013 at 3:08 PM

The ABC radio news reader reported as bad news that there were only 88k jobs created, but as good news that the unemployment rate had dropped to 7.6%. Seriously. I guess the best way to get out of this mess if for everybody to stop working so we can get the unemployment rate to 0.

Rumpole of the Bailey on April 5, 2013 at 3:27 PM

bayam will suffocate, in Obama’s azz.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 1:24 PM

Hehe. It’s fun to watch that tap dancing troll step in Obamas turds.

SparkPlug on April 5, 2013 at 3:35 PM

I don’t know.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

You can stop right there.

voiceofreason on April 5, 2013 at 2:18 PM

bayam tried posting the same link on one of the other threads here. My debunking of same:

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-gdp-impact-of-cuts-in-full-sequester-2013-1

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Wow, I’m impressed! An article written well before the sequester kicked in, and it’s full of…speculation.

Société Générale economists use a much lower fiscal multiplier – 0.5. when they apply that to the prospect of full sequestration, they get a much lower estimate

-snip-

Credit Suisse economists believe

-snip-

Wall Street economists seem to think

Doesn’t sound like Settled Science to me. Has the author, who looks young enough to be Paul Krugman’s great-grandson, written a followup piece to this shameless piece of Democrat Fear Mongering?

Still waiting for an answer, BTW.

Del Dolemonte on April 5, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Why is this….

The sequester is not a cut in spending but a reduction in the increased spending for 2013.

bw222 on April 5, 2013 at 1:19 PM

and this….

How can the sequester take a hit on the March unemployment rate when it hasn’t even started yet?

sentinelrules on April 5, 2013 at 1:16 PM

so difficult to understand? One would have to be ridiculously dishonest to not even acknowledge that….

Obama owns the sequester.

Obama owns the Arab’spring’.

Obama owns the economy.

Obama owns the disaster which the land is under him.

Obama owns Obama’care’.

Schadenfreude on April 5, 2013 at 1:26 PM

bayam

Oh….never mind.

98ZJUSMC on April 5, 2013 at 5:08 PM

I don’t know.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

The truth, shall set you free.

98ZJUSMC on April 5, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Isn’t business insider’s founder a crook who is not allowed to trade?

tom daschle concerned on April 5, 2013 at 5:32 PM

You can’t have it both ways- a significant cut in government spending…

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:12 PM

Stop right there sunshine.

The sequester wasn’t a cut in spending, let alone a “significant” cut. It was a small cut in EXPECTED spending. Correct that first and we’ll consider and discuss the rest of your points…

dominigan on April 5, 2013 at 5:33 PM

From a historical perspective, attempts to balance the budget don’t turn out so well when you’re still on the precipice of a recovery.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

There is no recovery. There is a precipice. Jump Lemming, Jump!

dominigan on April 5, 2013 at 5:35 PM

From a historical perspective, attempts to balance the budget don’t turn out so well when you’re still on the precipice of a recovery.

bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

It’s obvious Bayam doesn’t quite know what that word means.

HumpBot Salvation on April 5, 2013 at 5:36 PM

From a historical perspective, attempts to balance the budget don’t turn out so well when you’re still on the precipice of a recovery.
 
bayam on April 5, 2013 at 1:43 PM

 
I don’t think word means what you think it means.
 
happytobehere on April 5, 2013 at 2:11 PM

 
Add it to the list:
 
http://hotair.com/archives/2013/03/27/sebelius-well-yeah-actually-obamacare-is-causing-insurance-premiums-to-rise/comment-page-2/#comment-6835759
 
OBAMA 2013!

rogerb on April 5, 2013 at 9:19 PM

“So you want a job that you expect us to train you to do, but, if we can’t pay you what you want you will stay on unemployment?” This was something one of my managers asked an applicant applying for an unskilled minimum wage job.

As a business owner most people have no idea how many people we’ve had to hire, then fire, just to get one that could perform the easiest tasks. People with a solid work ethic are getting harder and harder to find.
The nanny state, public school system and parents have done a pathetic job at preparing our children for adulthood. Too bad we didn’t create positions for couch potatoes.

kregg on April 6, 2013 at 7:48 AM

All of our best jobs are being offshored. Thanks to both the Republicans and Democrats. Entry level jobs are being swallowed up by illegals. Young people can’t get any work experience as a result. Thanks to both Republicans and Democrats.

Darvin Dowdy on April 7, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3