Employment Report Looks Good, But Not Great

by: Eddy Elfenbein

After yesterday's turmoil, Wall Street was eagerly anticipating today's jobs report. The good news is that it was a good report. Good, not great. This is especially good because few people were expecting good news.

The non-farm payroll report said that the U.S. economy created 290,000 jobs last month and another 230,000 in the month before that. So that's 520,000 jobs over two months. Not bad.

The problem, of course, is that in the 24 months prior to that, the economy shed 8.25 million jobs. In other words, we still have a long, long way to go.

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The unemployment rate rose to 9.9% after being stuck at 9.7% for the first three months of the year. This figure, however, is a bit misleading. Breaking out the decimal points, the unemployment rate for March was 9.749% and it rose to 9.863% last month. While this is being reported as a 0.2% rise, it was, in fact, an increase of 0.114%.

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