Friday, April 5, 2013

Economists React to Lousy Jobs Report ... Bad but Not Awful

'Punch to the gut': Reactions to March jobs report has this insight from several economists about today's disappointing employment news for March:

"Here are reactions from analysts and others to Friday’s jobs report showing the U.S. economy added just 88,000 jobs in March, far less than economists had expected.

• “The modest 88,000 increase in non-farm payrolls in March is further evidence that the U.S. economy is undergoing another spring slowdown, albeit from a pretty rapid pace of growth in the first quarter.” — Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist, Capital Economics.

“Today will be another unhappy day for a recently unhappy equity market, and a positive for bonds, as investors adjust to a slowing pace for U.S. growth.” — Avery Shenfeld, CIBC WM Economics

• “This jobs number probably isn’t the fault of the sequester. But it’s evidence that the economy can’t take the sequester right now.” — Ezra Klein, Washington Post writer, ‏@ezraklein

“This is a punch to the gut. This is not a good number. And I think now you’re going to interestingly start seeing a lot of discussion about maybe the sequester’s a bigger deal than people thought it was.” — Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, in an interview on CNBC.

• “The president’s policies continue to make it harder for Americans to find work. Hundreds of thousands fled the workforce last month and unemployment remains far above what the Obama administration promised when it enacted its ‘stimulus’ spending plan.” — House Speaker John Boehner.

“We don’t think there is enough signal here to conclude the US economy is wobbling, rather it appears that the underlying trend has not improved as much as the January-February data suggested. It almost goes without saying that this will leave Fed policy in full force for now despite the decline in the unemployment rate.” — Julia Coronado, BNP Paribas.

“The weaker payroll number was also supported by the 206k decline in household employment and the 496k decline in the civilian labor force. This mix of data when combined with a mixed deal on the work week and a 0.3% decline in hourly earnings suggest that the labor market is not going to lift the economy into a self sustaining trajectory. The wide inflation adjusted trade deficit report for February will also get the Bulls very concerned about their 3% Q1 GDP projections. I expect they will temper these to 2%.” — Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist, Mizuho Securities USA.

“Moderate payrolls growth

Positive revisions

Weak household survey

Declining unemployment

= A disappointing report, but not dreadful.

B/B-” — Justin Wolfers, professor of economics & public policy, University of Michigan"

Summing Up

More to come later.

That said, weak is weak.

Still, the economy is still growing but not a disaster.

There's no U.S. recession ahead but no solid recovery is in sight either.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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