April 5, 2013

Disappointing Job Gains for March, Little Progress in Economic Recovery

Keith Hall

Former Senior Research Fellow
Summary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today that the economy gained only 88,000 jobs in March 2013, well below expectations and a sign that the economic recovery has a long way to go.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced today that the economy gained only 88,000 jobs in March 2013, well below expectations and a sign that the economic recovery has a long way to go.

Mercatus Center senior research fellow Keith Hall, former BLS commissioner, said that the labor participation rate is at the lowest level since 1979 and average monthly job gains for this year are now below the average for 2012.

“Today’s job report shows a disappointing gain of 88,000 jobs in March and a drop in the already low labor force participation rate from 63.5 percent to 63.3 percent. Labor force participation is now at its lowest level in almost 34 years.”

“For 2013 so far, we’ve averaged 168,000 jobs per month.  This is below last years’ average gain of 183,000 jobs per month.”

Although the unemployment rate declined slightly from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent, that was primarily due to 496,000 people dropping out of the labor force.

“We continue to have very little progress toward economic recovery from the Great Recession. Presently, just 58.5 percent of the working age population is employed. This is the same low employment rate as in October of 2009, when the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent.”