Counterparties: Even more bad job market news
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Another month, another troubling jobs report. The summary: 115,000 jobs created in March, 8.1% unemployment, 342,000 people leaving the labor force and a labor force participation rate that hasn’t been this low since 1981. (Felix has the rundown of the worrisome implications of people deciding to simply stop looking for work.)
The NYT has a nice Storify of the Twittersphere’s reactions; HuffPost has an even more in-depth liveblog. The award for the most apt reaction to the report goes to the NYT‘s @BCAppelbaum: “What if these are the good times?”
The reaction from analysts and economists, who predicted we’d see about 160,000 jobs created in April, was muted, with a few saying that a warm winter essentially just pulled forward spring hiring to earlier in the year. Ray Stone of Stone & McCarthy (no relation, sadly) suggested some of the shrinking workforce could be chalked up to austerity:
We suspect the decline in the labor market participation rate is in part an artifact of the exhaustion of extended unemployment benefits, and the related shortening of benefit periods in some states.
The idea of government cutbacks as a drag on the labor market became something of a theme:
@JustinWolfers: “When 106% of jobs lost since January 2009 are in the public sector, should we conclude the stimulus failed, or we never really tried it?”
We’re now short roughly 12 million jobs. In a study released today, Pew reports that 29.5% of the unemployed – some 13.3 million Americans – have been out of work a year or more. Nearly 23 million people couldn’t find work in April.
And on to today’s links:
95% of job losses during the recession came in “middle-skill” occupations – Bloomberg Businessweek