BEWARE THE HYPE – AT 9:42 A.M. ET: We're always happy to have good news about America, but be careful with this one, and work the details. From The New York Times:
The American economy added 162,000 jobs in March, offering some hope that the labor market, after shedding millions of jobs during the recession, had reached a turning point.
The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent. It is expected to worsen later this year as discouraged workers re-enter the labor force.
That's the key point. The unemployment rate hasn't changed, and the underemployment rate has actually gone up.
The pace of job growth in March was the best in three years, bolstering hopes that the still-sputtering recovery was gaining momentum.
But economists sounded a cautious note, pointing out that a sizable portion of the growth came from the government’s hiring of 48,000 census workers. There were clear signs, however, that the private sector was slowly gaining strength: over all, it added 123,000 jobs last month.
Deduct the census hires, temporaries, and the figure looks far less impressive.
The so-called underemployment rate -- which includes part- time workers who’d prefer a full-time position and people who want work but have given up looking -- increased to 16.9 percent from 16.8 percent.
The report also showed an increased in long-term unemployed Americans. The number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or more rose as a percentage of all jobless, to a record 44.1 percent.
We hope for the best, but we'll need many months of gains just to begin to get us out of this mess. And with the economic burdens of Obamacare starting to hit big corporations, we should be skeptical of those who wish to break out the champagne.
April 2, 2010