Today’s jobs report shows that unemployment is still decreasing and more jobs are being created. But is it happening fast enough, or is the slowdown a sign that the economic recovery is halting?
The 120,000 new jobs created last month came in far below the 200,000 jobs the administration anticipated, but still managed to bring the unemployment rate down slightly, to 8.2 percent.
Republicans, eager to keep a flailing economy alive as a campaign issue, say that’s just not good enough. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor released a statement saying, “The level of growth we are seeing isn’t enough to make a difference for the millions of Americans still out of work or families facing high gas prices and the uncertainty of a lagging economy. Job growth happens when small businessmen and women in this country have the ability to take risks, invest capital and start hiring new workers.”
Analysts, however, say that the one month lag may not signal as much as Republicans are claiming. “Given that the report reflects only one month of data and some of the underlying cyclical sectors registered payroll gains, we do not view it as conclusively signaling a shift to a lower trend rate of employment growth,” Michael Gapen, a senior economist at Barclays in New York, told Reuters.
Although the March numbers were a disappointment, the Associated Press reports that “the economy has added 858,000 jobs since December — the best four months of hiring in two years.”
But concern for a faltering recovery, and that the latest numbers could make consumer confidence drop, creating a new cycle of low growth, is not unwarranted. One month means little, but if it begins a new pattern of slow growth, the jobs picture could return to its former anemic pace.
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