The latest government jobs reports finds that only 88,000 jobs were added in March. That’s half of the 12 month average and less than half of what most experts expected.
The unemployment rate actually declined slightly to 7.6 percent. This is the result of the decrease of folks looking for work. The labor-force participation rate dropped from 63.5 percent to dropped to 63.3 percent, its lowest point since 1978, according to Patrick Brennan at NRO.
Liberals undoubtedly will blame the sequester for the poor March report. However, as Brennan argues, that’s a difficult case to make. Excluding the nearly insolvent U.S. Postal Service, federal payrolls actually expanded slightly in March. And although çuts in defense spending likely eventually will have an impact on jobs, it’s not plausible to think that this impact has already kicked in.
JOHN adds: The employment picture is truly dire. The real story here is the steadily declining labor force participation rate. This chart, via Zero Hedge, shows the numbers graphically:
Another 663,000 Americans fled the labor force in March. This is a human tragedy: many of those who have left the labor force will never return. Millions have gone on disability, not because they are actually disabled, but because they can’t find work and there is always government money available if you are willing to settle for it. Consequently, much of the harm now being done will not be undone even if the economy does finally mount a real rally.