You’ve doubtless heard a lot of talk about how the long, long, long-delayed Obama recovery was finally in progress, six years after he blew a trillion dollars on creating “shovel-ready jobs” he later admitted were non-existent, with the kind of chuckle normally emitted by a man who opens a trick peanut can filled with spring-loaded snakes on April Fools Day. For the last few months, we’ve heard loud trumpeting about “strong” job reports and signs of economic growth, which the President and his defenders were naturally eager to claim credit for.
Well, forget about all that, because the March job report was a hideous letdown. For at least the next 30 days, all Obama supporters are instructed to refrain from connecting him to the economy in any way.
We don’t get job reports any more, we get weather reports. Every time job creation chugs in below expectations, we’re told to blame bad weather. “Winter” comes and goes, month to month, depending on weather the jobs number was a miss. It was a big miss in March, so Old Man Winter’s chapped blue bum is back in the saddle.
At least CNBC’s report only lists “bad weather” as the first of several variables, and the other ones won’t magically disappear when you hear the first ice cream truck of the season tinkling down the street:
The sputtering U.S. economy created just 126,000 jobs in March as bad weather, weak consumer spending and flailing corporate profits resulted in the worst report since 2012.
Economists expected nonfarm payrolls to rise 245,000 in March, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 5.5 percent, according to Reuters. February’s numbers were revised lower to 264,000 from the initially reported 295,000, while January’s number fell from 239,000 to 201,000.
The total fell well short of the 269,000 average over the past year and was the first time in 14 months that the number fell below 200,000.
However, the overall unemployment rate held steady at 5.5 percent, as a generational low in labor force participation helps keep the figure low. A separate gauge that includes those who have stopped looking for work as well those employed part-time for economic reasons—the underemployed—edged lower from 11 percent to 10.9 percent.
The jobs numbers come as both the economy and corporate profits have been weakening substantially.
In its most recently estimate, the Federal Reserve’s Atlanta branch is projecting the U.S. economy to show no growth in the first quarter. At the same time, corporate profits are expected to drop about 3 percent for the period and another 2 percent or so in the second quarter, according to S&P Capital IQ.
Whoa, whoa, wait a second. “Sputtering economy?” The rate’s holding “steady” due to a statistical illusion caused by “a generational low in labor force participation?” (We lost another 277,000 people from the labor force in March, by the way.) The economy and corporate profits are weakening? That’s totally different than what the media has been telling me about a roaring economy and booming recovery for months. Happy days were here again…!
There actually is a bit of good news in the report, since a good number of part-time jobs were lost while full-time jobs were gained. Considering how assiduously the Obama-friendly media has avoided reporting the exchange of full- for part-time jobs when it was a mighty avalanche rolling in the other direction, it’s kind of funny to see that detail popping out of reports now.
Likewise with the 7-cent gain in average hourly earnings last month. We weren’t supposed to notice when average earnings tumbled or held stagnant for long periods of time, which would seem inconsistent with the Left’s endless bleating about “income inequality,” but is easy to understand when you remember Barack Obama is completely firewalled from inequality discussions, no matter how pronounced the phenomenon grows on his watch.
Even last month’s hourly wage gain deserves an asterisk, since as ZeroHedge points out, the wage gain for non-supervisory labor was considerably lower, its calculation heavily influenced by the ongoing contraction of the workforce. “Not only is wage growth for 83% of America non-existent, it has in fact stalled into what appears to be a recessionary wall,” argues ZeroHedge, while “wage growth for the tiny 17% of America that is its bosses and supervisors must be soaring.”
Warning: efforts to smash through such recessionary wall with government mandates for a higher minimum wage tend to pulverize the people used as battering rams.