Political Animal


April 05, 2013 8:48 AM March Jobs: Slow As You Go

By Ed Kilgore

If I were into spinning economic statistics, I might just say the unemployment rate dropped to 7.6% in March, and that would be accurate. I’d also say the net job gain numbers for January were revised upward by 29,000, and those for February by 32,000, and that would be true as well.

But the stat we’ll most hear about all day was pretty surprising, and not in a good way: according to BLS the economy created 88,000 new jobs in March, way down from February’s levels, and far below predictions by economists of 200,000 or more.

There are seasonal glitch issues that might have depressed the March numbers, and one month rarely matters much. But it does make you wonder about April and particularly the summer months when the effects of the sequester really starts to kick in. So what are we about to do in Washington right now? Spend the next week or so talking about spending cuts! Go figure.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on April 05, 2013 9:06 AM:

    And if Austerian Conservatives are right, then with many Federal employees losing 20% of their pay, to help lower the debt, or prevent it from increasing, then we should see a massive uptick in employment!
    I mean, there goes the "Job Creators" uncertainty about the mounting debt - right again?

    I mean, we're not lowering the debt too fast are we?

    Oh, shoot, I forgot, "No JOOOOOOOBS for YOU!"
    We raised the "Job Creators" taxes just under 4% a few months ago.

    If only we'd cut spending, and given more and bigger tax breaks to the "Job Creators," we'd be swimming in all of the great paying jobs we had during Reagan's 80's, Bush's early 90's, and W's 00's!!!


    With less money to spend by those who are still employed, new jobs will continue to decline, while those existing jobs are cut.

  • sjw on April 05, 2013 9:21 AM:

    Where is Obama? We've got more "leading from behind," with no full-throated complaint about the sequester's imminent danger to the economy and, according to the latest news, making yet another concession to the no-budge Republicans (a reduction of Social Security benefits). In other words, more same old, same old from Obama on the economy. Look, I voted for Obama, and he's done a lot of good, but his leadership skills here are sorely lacking.

  • T2 on April 05, 2013 9:36 AM:

    The goal of the Repulican Party is to make sure the economy sucks in 2016. Once you understand that, you understand everything.

  • max on April 05, 2013 9:42 AM:

    There are seasonal glitch issues that might have depressed the March numbers, and one month rarely matters much.

    There's a March/April stutter that recurs on a semi-regular basis. (There was one in 1996, for example.) Given the behavior of our idiot friends running the EU, March numbers being down shouldn't be too big a surprise. Factor in the sequester and there it is.

    We'll see.

    ['Given our position in November, and our position now, I'd say... nothing has really changed. Except the Federal Reserve should resume shutting up about withdrawing from QE.']

  • PS on April 05, 2013 9:49 AM:

    It appears the country, and the world for that matter, is being run by double dipsh*ts.

  • joanneindenver on April 05, 2013 10:08 AM:

    Easter was early this year. One would have expected that retail sales would have been up to reflect that kind of holiday buying. I think we need a breakout in terms of retail sales. How much is being done online and how much is still being done in physical retail outlets with real salespeople?

    We really need to know how profound the technological shift from people power to computer power is impacting employment.

    I don't disagree with all the comments that the Republicans are dancing in their offices over this because it does help them in 2014-16.

  • TP on April 05, 2013 10:31 AM:

    How long until companies, perhaps truthfully, start using the Sequester excuse for bad numbers? How about a Political Animal tally of those crying "Sequester"?

  • JR on April 05, 2013 10:32 AM:

    Joanne's right... I work for a huge global law firm that is strongly turning to technology, rather than people. As a result, this secretary had lost nearly all support (no more floaters, 30-plus minute waits on IT, even in emergencies). Our local HR Director also is responsible for two other offices, each 1,000 miles away. Efficiency has declined.

  • somethingblue on April 05, 2013 12:08 PM:

    T2: "The goal of the Republican Party is to make sure the economy sucks in 2016."

    As far as I can tell, that's both parties' goal. (See? Bipartisanship really does produce results.)