Friday, April 7, 2017

"Economists React to the March Jobs Report: ‘Mostly Just Weather-Related Noise’"

From Real Time Economics:
U.S. nonfarm employers added a seasonally adjusted 98,000 jobs in March, well below economists’ expectations for an increase of 175,000. But the unemployment rate dropped to 4.5%, its lowest level since May 2007.

Here are early reactions from economists and analysts to Friday’s report:
“The disappointing 98,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls in March will be seized upon by the usual suspects as confirmation that the U.S. economy is poised for collapse, but the truth is this is mostly just weather-related noise. After the unseasonably warm January and February, which pushed monthly job gains back above 200,000, there was always going to be some payback in March, when the weather snapped back to seasonal norms, including some heavy snowstorms.” —Paul Ashworth, Capital Economics

“Headline unemployment fell, but perhaps more importantly so did underemployment—from 9.2% in February to 8.9% in March. … This means fewer people are working part-time for economic reasons.” —Megan Greene, John Hancock Asset Management

“Even before the latest drop, unemployment appeared to be low enough already to put upward pressure on wage gains.” —Jim O’Sullivan, High Frequency Economics

“Although job growth slowed in March, and was much weaker than expected, the labor market remains in good shape. Job growth this year is running close to last year’s pace, and is running well ahead of what is needed to keep up with labor force growth. Thus job-market slack continues to diminish, which will push wages higher throughout 2017. The Federal Open Market Committee is likely to regard the weak March number as an aberration.” —Gus Faucher, PNC Financial Services Group