Sourpuss Paul Krugman was apparently stunned into silence by the March jobs report; it took him a week or two to come up with a negative angle. Here is the best he can do:
At last, a favorable surprise on jobs: estimated payroll employment rose 308,000 in March, above almost everyone’s expectations. You can’t blame the administration for trying to play up the good news….
For perspective, it helps to remember what solid job growth looks like. During Bill Clinton’s eight years in office, the economy added 236,000 jobs per month. But that’s just an average: a graph of monthly changes looks like an electrocardiogram. There were 23 months with 300,000 or more new jobs; in March 2000, the economy added 493,000 jobs. This tells us not to make too much of one month’s data; payroll numbers are, as economists say, noisy. It also tells us that by past standards, March 2004 was nothing special.
Of course, we can hope that the March numbers are just the beginning of a torrent of good news. But the straws in the wind aren’t wildly encouraging. Weekly first claims for unemployment insurance are down