Jobs Report – The Soft Side of Mediocre

As expected, today’s jobs data showed a slowing labor market. Payrolls expanded by 115,000 in April, less than hoped or expected. Upward revisions to February and March added another 53,000 jobs, however, so the overall payroll picture is better than the headline. The unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1%, the labor force participation rate slipped to 63.6%, weekly hours were unchanged at 34.5, and hourly earnings increased a measly penny from $23.37 to $23.38.

Put it all together, and this report is on the soft side of mediocre.

Unemployment and underemployment both remain very high, but they’ve been moving in the right direction. After peaking at 10% in October 2009, the unemployment rate has declined by about 2 percentage points. The U-6 measure of underemployment, meanwhile, peaked at 17.2% and now stands at 14.5%:

(The U-6 measures includes the officially unemployed, marginally attached workers, and those who are working part-time but want full-time work.)

4 thoughts on “Jobs Report – The Soft Side of Mediocre”

  1. What we really need is some sort of pro forma numbers to facilitate comparisons. For example, comparing April 2012 to Feb 2012, start with Feb 2012 Unemployment, add decline in jobs, add new to labor force, subtract retirees = new unemployment pro forma number, to be compared to Feb 2012 civilian labor force size. I’d estimate an increase of 0.1-0.2% in unemployment over that period (form the BLS announcement and a rough estimate of retirements off of census data).

  2. Nonsense Donald, didn’t you get the Federal Reserve memo? Everythings going smashingly fellows. Pip, pip why its greenshoots popping up everywhere. Ignore those 50 million peasants on food stamps,they’re just poor sports, hate to see the other fellow win and all that.

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