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May 02, 2014 9:20 AM April Jobs Report: Hard to Find Fault

By Ed Kilgore

So just a few days after 1st Quarter GDP numbers indicated a shockingly slow economy, the first real indicator from the second quarter came in like gangbusters. The April Jobs Report showed net new jobs of 288,000, at least 70,000 over expectations, and the largest monthly gains since January 2012. The official unemployment rate also dropped to 6.3%, the lowest level since September 2008. For dessert, January and February jobs estimates were raised by 36,000.

The big shadow in the sunshine is that total employment actually dropped as the labor force shrank by over 800,000 people. It’s unclear how many of them are those who have lost unemployment insurance and given up hope, but such people definitely exist, and nobody should give up on them. Since Republicans don’t like to talk about the long-term unemployed, I’m guessing that instead of focusing on them to find fault with the Jobs Report, they’ll just talk about something else (the “smoking gun of Benghaizi!” anybody?) today.

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.

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