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Inside views on the jobs market

Unemployment jumps, but is the economy finding its floor?

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Markets might have rallied on relief that the jobs data this morning wasn’t worse than expected, but there’s no getting away from the fact that an 8.5 percent unemployment rate is an ugly number. The March jobs figures showed U.S. employers slashed 663,000 jobs in March. The unemployment rate was the highest since 1983. Here is some reaction from the market:

ROBERT MACINTOSH, CHIEF ECONOMIST, EATON VANCE CORP, BOSTON:
“It’s telling you we’re in a deep recession and it’s still going to be a while to get out of it, especially on the employment side of things. But you have to keep in mind that this is a lagging indicator, we’re going to get bad employment numbers, along with the employment rate, even if the economy is starting to turn.”

PIERRE ELLIS, SENIOR ECONOMIST, DECISION ECONOMICS, NEW YORK:
“The report does not contradict the growing notion that the economy is finding a bottom. Employment will not turn on a dime and certainly there’s no sign of strength, but at least it’s not getting worse and worse and worse.”

PETER KENNY, MANAGING DIRECTOR, KNIGHT EQUITY MARKETS, JERSEY CITY, NEW JERSEY:
“It gives the market a sense that we dodged a bullet in the very, very near term. It’s positive in that it wasn’t a blowout number of more than 750,000. All the indexes are higher because the market is breathing a sigh of relief because it wasn’t a blowout of market psychology. It indicates a slackening of the rate of decline and leaves the bear market rally intact.”

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