April Jobs Report Best Since 2006!

At last.  There’s a lot to be pleased about with the the April Labor report which shows that the economy added 290,000 jobs.  Government economists were hoping for a figure of 200,000, so this is especially good news for the U.S. market.  The industries which saw the most job growth were maufacturing, construction, retail, the professional business sector and hospitality.  This report is also better than the March report which added 230,000 jobs.  For comparison sake, the February report was merely 39,000 additional jobs.Don’t be fooled by the fact that the unemployment rate went up from 9.7% to 9.9%.  That’s because more than 800,000 people are now feeling better about their prospects, so they resumed searching for work.  The economist, Paul Krugman, who’s been building a huge following with his column for the New York Times as well as the recent Nobel Prize, said that the report is “good,” but proceeds to rain all over the the good news.  But a long, long way to go.  Two things worth remembering.  First, during the Clinton years the economy added around 230,000 jobs a month on average.–that is, over an eight-year period.  One month like this isn’t much.  Second, on a reasonable estimate it would take something like 4 or 5 years of job growth at this rate to restory anything resembling full employment.The initial unemployment claims report for the week ending May 1 was also better with a decrease of 7,000 from the previous week, to the figure of 451,000.  Remember Mark Zandi’s astute observation on unemployment claims:  Only when claims head down to 400,000 will the economy be creating enough jobs to maintain stable unemployment.  Closer to 350,000 will lower the unemployment rate and mean that the recovery is evolving into an expansion.  When we get to initial weekly unemployment claims of 300,000, boom times are back.Next task?  Fix the Greek financial mess.  That’s a Euro problem, and won’t affect us significantly unless Germany and France fail to fix it.  Thus far, there’s not enough movement.  But Ms. Merkel and the Germans move slowly, and there’s a great deal of national frustration over the Greek failure.  She’s got a lot of work to do. 
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