March jobs report: 192,000 jobs added, U-3 at 6.7%

posted at 8:36 am on April 4, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Economists expected a good number from the BLS today, or at least a relatively good number of new jobs added to the economy of about 200,000. They just missed to the high side, as the April job report found that the economy added 192,000 jobs, while the U-3 unemployment rate stayed at 6.7%:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment grew in professional and business services, in health care, and in mining and logging. …

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.7 million, changed little in March; these individuals accounted for 35.8 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 837,000 over the year. (See table A-12.)

Both the civilian labor force and total employment increased in March. The labor force participation rate (63.2 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.9 percent) changed little over the month. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 7.4 million in March. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work. (See table A-8.)

In March, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in March, down slightly from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

In other words, ADP got this one right. It’s slightly better than treading water … but not by much. The economy has to grow 150,000 jobs just to keep pace with population growth, so this is only a small, incremental step toward employing the unemployed. It’s a stagnation number.

The U-3 and U-6 numbers remained basically steady. The traditional U-3 unemployment rate has been at 6.7% for three of the last four months, but that relies on a definition of the workforce that has dramatically declined as a percentage of population over the last four years. The U-6 number solves for some of that, but that’s also remaining steady at 12.7% two of the last three months. The civilian workforce participation rate has increased a bit during that time too, and the workforce has increased about 760,000 since January — not a bad sign.

CNBC’s Jeff Cox considers this mildly good news:

Job creation returned to form in March as companies shook off some winter blues, albeit in a manner slightly below Wall Street expectations.

The economy added 192,000 new jobs for the month, while the unemployment rate held steady at 6.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers were around consensus and less than indicative of a robust rebound, but still a sign that slowdowns in January and February likely were influenced at least somewhat by inclement conditions.

Well, that would be true, but …

The number was an improvement over February’s 197,000 gain, which was revised upward by 22,000. January’s total also moved higher in the revised count, from an anemic 129,000 to 144,000.

No, it wasn’t an improvement over the adjusted February numbers. It’s about the same with or without the inclement weather, which suggests that the issue isn’t really weather-related.

Reuters so far seems focused on the slight miss to expectations, at least in its front-page headline. But its live-blog lead blurb speaks to that phenomenon:

The US economy added 192,000 jobs, unemployment was unchanged at 6.7%. The number of long-term unemployed Americans is basically constant at 3.7 million.February’s number was revised up to 197,000 and average hourly earnings fell by a cent and are up just 2.1% since last March.
The headline numbers of jobs added and the overall unemployment are, however, becoming less relevant indicators of how strong or weak the labor market actually is. The US has been adding jobs at a low but steady rate for years, and unemployment has been falling. But the debate about what economists call slack in the labor market focuses on other indicators: wage growth (which has not been strong for several years), long-term unemployment, and the percentage of Americans participating in the jobs market. 

The problem with gauging these reports against the pre-release consensus expectations is that the expectations are for continued mediocrity. Even if both February and March hit the 200,000 mark, we would need years to bring us back to a workforce participation rate and unemployment rate that matched our output before the Great Recession. Our economic policies over the recovery period of almost five years are not going to deliver that kind of growth, as we keep seeing in these mediocre expectations and even more mediocre results. The BLS report repeatedly notes “little changed” in its metrics, which is because little has changed in the last five years of stagnation.


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It’s those darn Koch Brother’s fault!

Flora Duh on April 4, 2014 at 8:43 AM

this is only a small, incremental step toward employing the unemployed. It’s a stagnation number.

What the heck are you talking about? The administration will be doing a victory lap this afternoon. Happy days are here again!!!!!!!! Sure, Jay Carney will use his serious schoolmarm voice to talk about a slow but steady recovery but the underlying spin will be about just how awesome Obama is doing in “creating jobs.”

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2014 at 8:43 AM

If the economy is so great why haven’t I had a raise since Obama overthrew our government and assumed the throne?

ConstantineXI on April 4, 2014 at 8:51 AM

What the heck are you talking about? The administration will be doing a victory lap this afternoon. Happy days are here again!!!!!!!! Sure, Jay Carney will use his serious schoolmarm voice to talk about a slow but steady recovery but the underlying spin will be about just how awesome Obama is doing in “creating jobs.”

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2014 at 8:43 AM

Obama is going to do a speech in front of moving styrofoam goal posts and spike a football (and miss).

ConstantineXI on April 4, 2014 at 8:53 AM

If the economy is so great why haven’t I had a raise since Obama overthrew our government and assumed the throne?

ConstantineXI on April 4, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Oh dear! It seems as if you have a pretty severe case of job lock. I recommend you sign up for all the government freebies and get out there and pursue you dream of being a sculptor or poet or something. ;0

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Obama is going to do a speech in front of moving styrofoam goal posts and spike a football (and miss).

ConstantineXI on April 4, 2014 at 8:53 AM

They’ll fix that in editing.

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2014 at 8:54 AM

The U-6 number solves for some of that, but that’s also remaining steady at 12.7% two of the last three months. The civilian workforce participation rate has increased a bit during that time too, and the workforce has increased about 760,000 since January — not a bad sign.

There were some not so bad months during the Great Depression too. This is basically adjusting to the new normal, there isn’t any gangbuster job growths with the Fascist-Democrats in power.

Treading water is not anything to be happy about.

rbj on April 4, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Economic Obamalaise.

No worries, Summer of Recovery Part VI is due out in June.

HumpBot Salvation on April 4, 2014 at 8:59 AM

Oh dear! It seems as if you have a pretty severe case of job lock. I recommend you sign up for all the government freebies and get out there and pursue you dream of being a sculptor or poet or something. ;0

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2014 at 8:54 AM

I would sooner starve to dearth than beg for scraps of food at Obama’s plantation house.

ConstantineXI on April 4, 2014 at 9:05 AM

If the economy is so great why haven’t I had a raise since Obama overthrew our government and assumed the throne?

ConstantineXI on April 4, 2014 at 8:51 AM

Oh dear! It seems as if you have a pretty severe case of job lock. I recommend you sign up for all the government freebies and get out there and pursue you dream of being a sculptor or poet or something. ;0

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2014 at 8:54 AM

Well, I have no interest in sculpting, but I along with a couple dozen other folks I work with, will be liberated from job lock on June 30 – those jobs are going to India. (Yes, they are IT related.)

climbnjump on April 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Well, I have no interest in sculpting, but I along with a couple dozen other folks I work with, will be liberated from job lock on June 30 – those jobs are going to India. (Yes, they are IT related.)

climbnjump on April 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM

We get calls from India INC almost daily. And they get rude when the realize they are talking to the very American IT personnel they are trying to replace. Frankly I view India as an enemy nation.

ConstantineXI on April 4, 2014 at 9:14 AM

Breakdown of regional stats in Feb. 2014. No info yet on March.

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/laus.nr0.htm

workingclass artist on April 4, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Well, the country’s fixin’ to legalize dope, so that will create a lot of new pot farmers and street dealers. To add even more to the job market, I suggest that The One use his pen and bring back Prohibition. Then, the rest of the unemployed can open speakeasies, or brew beer in their basements (while dressed in their jammies) and gin in their bathtubs – who needs to bathe when yer ‘self employed’? And, as an added plus, all the unemployed union thugs can now get jobs as ‘enforcers’. A win-win-win for ‘merika. PLUS, with everyone toked up or drunked up, we won’t care (or notice) that we’re doing all this behind concertina wire…

vnvet on April 4, 2014 at 9:21 AM

We get calls from India INC almost daily. And they get rude when the realize they are talking to the very American IT personnel they are trying to replace. Frankly I view India as an enemy nation.

ConstantineXI on April 4, 2014 at 9:14 AM

The company I work for was acquired about a year ago by another that has a “90/10″ model – 90% IT support in India and 10% here. But oddly enough, they actually replace every 1 engineer here with 2 in India – their productivity isn’t the best. Apparently it’s still cheaper though…

climbnjump on April 4, 2014 at 9:26 AM

March jobs report: 192,000 jobs added, U-3 at 6.7%

The establishment survey shows 192,000 jobs added in March, and 542,000 jobs added in the last 3 months (Jan-Mar).

The household survey claims 476,000 jobs added in March, and 1,156,000 jobs created in the last 3 months (Jan-Mar).

Given the prior history of fraud in the household survey, should we trust it’s claims of more than twice as many jobs created (as compared to the establishment survey)?

ITguy on April 4, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Yes, so let’s raise the minimum wage and see what that does. /s

Drained Brain on April 4, 2014 at 9:34 AM

Holding a sign: “Will Blog 4 Food”.

I think I’m seeing the problem with a certain subset of the unemployed.

Tsar of Earth on April 4, 2014 at 9:38 AM

Libs celebrate: We can screw up the employment picture and the economy, raise partisanship to new highs, destroy our diplomatic and military influence AND get elected to second term..

{Happy Dance}

socalcon on April 4, 2014 at 9:41 AM

“Embrace the suck”…..”Embracin’ here, boss”, with apologies to Cool Hand Luke…

bimmcorp on April 4, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Well, I have no interest in sculpting, but I along with a couple dozen other folks I work with, will be liberated from job lock on June 30 – those jobs are going to India. (Yes, they are IT related.)

climbnjump on April 4, 2014 at 9:09 AM

Wow, an American IT worker. I thought you guys didn’t exist. Isn’t that why we need Indian H1B visa workers? You know to do the jobs that haven’t already been shipped to India? Because American workers can’t cut it?/sarc

Seriously, sorry to hear about your job. I live in constant fear of my husband losing his job because there are so few other opportunities in our area. I hope you are able to find a good job without too much trouble.

magicbeans on April 4, 2014 at 9:45 AM

I’m livin’ the dream referenced here:

The company I work for … has a “90/10″ model.

climbnjump on April 4, 2014 at 9:26 AM

And I’m seriously considering punting my life to here:

…so that will create a lot of new pot farmers…

vnvet on April 4, 2014 at 9:21 AM

Or going to Alaska and farming gold…

(BTW, climbnjump, I bet I know which co acquired your co. Small world.)

Tsar of Earth on April 4, 2014 at 9:46 AM

Yes, so let’s raise the minimum wage and see what that does. /s

Drained Brain on April 4, 2014 at 9:34 AM

No, the answer is more immigrants legal and illegal. Lets drive these wages down into the dirt and watch the unemployed compete for fewer and fewer jobs. Every DOL should have its own thunder dome./

magicbeans on April 4, 2014 at 9:54 AM

…Lets drive these wages down into the dirt…

magicbeans on April 4, 2014 at 9:54 AM

I wonder: Is it possible to drive wages so low that nobody goes to Walmart anymore?

Tsar of Earth on April 4, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Wow, an American IT worker. I thought you guys didn’t exist. Isn’t that why we need Indian H1B visa workers? You know to do the jobs that haven’t already been shipped to India? Because American workers can’t cut it?/sarc

magicbeans on April 4, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Yeah, all that’s missing is a Obama in the role of snarling bully telling some woman that it’s nonsense her husband has been out of work as a computer engineer because there are so many opportunities in the field.

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Boehner’s response. All hat and no horse.

“I’m glad more Americans have found work, but our economy still isn’t creating jobs for the American people at the rate they were promised. Under the Republican jobs plan, the House has passed dozens of bills that would help fuel economic growth by expanding all types of energy production, protecting families and small business from ObamaCare, improving education and job training, and more. Senate Democrats have no excuse for standing in the way of these common-sense jobs measures, many of which passed with bipartisan support, and I urge them to act immediately.”

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2014 at 10:02 AM

I thought we need upwards of over 200K to tread water? When did it get moved down to 150K?

watertown on April 4, 2014 at 10:03 AM

I blame the damned Koch Brothers and their damned winter! Damn it!

EA_MAN on April 4, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Boehner’s response. All hat and no horse.

“I’m glad more Americans have found work, but our economy still isn’t creating jobs for the American people at the rate they were promised. Under the Republican jobs plan, the House has passed dozens of bills that would help fuel economic growth by expanding all types of energy production, protecting families and small business from ObamaCare, improving education and job training, and more. Senate Democrats have no excuse for standing in the way of these common-sense jobs measures, many of which passed with bipartisan support, and I urge them to act immediately.”

Happy Nomad on April 4, 2014 at 10:02 AM

.
What “Weepy” Boehner intentionally ignores is the data that is more damning than anything else … because he’s HOT to make an immigration deal

Part-Time Nation: Number Of High-Wage Jobs Added In March: +2,000

Curious why March hourly wages fell, and why the weekly number continues to trend at a near-recession level, and certainly one that does not support a 2% inflation growth case? Here’s why: in March the best paying industry groups – information, financial activities and manufacturing (which actually saw a drop of 1,000 jobs in the past month) – added a cumulative total of… 2,000 jobs among them. Where was the bulk of the job gains? At the worst paying sectors of course.

•Education and Health: +34K
•Leisure and Hospitality: +29K
•Temp Help: +29K
•Retail Trade: +21K

And that’s why there is no inflation (at least according to whatever the Fed’s preferred inflationary indicator du jour is): because the jobs that are “added” to the economy, have virtually no wage and/or purchasing power growth. But at least the “recovery” continues.

PolAgnostic on April 4, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Recovery Summer to begin in 2 months.

/s

MJBrutus on April 4, 2014 at 11:00 AM


The data are not seasonally adjusted.

Which season would that be? MISERY or DEGRADATION ?

roflmmfao

donabernathy on April 4, 2014 at 11:12 AM

Keep voting MJBrutus Democrat reprobates!

Murphy9 on April 4, 2014 at 11:23 AM

…and…the bullshit continues…month after month!

KOOLAID2 on April 4, 2014 at 11:33 AM

And how many left the labor force for the unofficial economy forever? How is the government doing on its campaign to drive everyone out of its economy?

Another Libertarian on April 4, 2014 at 11:34 AM

I thought we need upwards of over 200K to tread water? When did it get moved down to 150K?

Good point. This is the same sort of cooking the books that tells us 91 million people permanently out of the labor force is normal.

Another Libertarian on April 4, 2014 at 11:39 AM

I cannot, for the life of me, understand why the unemployment rate is configured in the current manner.

Want a current snapshot of the TRUE rate?

Take the available workforce, subtract the number unemployed and express that amount as a percentage.

And there you will see a much more appropriate picture.

Which also tells you why it isn’t computed that way.

irongrampa on April 4, 2014 at 12:01 PM

Would still above 10% with fixed LFPR or 8.5% if you adjust the LFPR for aging population.

http://tinypic.com/r/24waxhi/8

agmartin on April 4, 2014 at 12:08 PM

irongrampa on April 4, 2014 at 12:01 PM

That’s why the Employment-population ratio is a better statistic than the unemployment percentage.

ITguy on April 4, 2014 at 4:01 PM