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Lackluster March Jobs Report May Be Ominous Sign for Economy

by Shawn M. Griffiths, published

Cheaper gas prices, a stronger dollar, China trimming U.S. debt -- the initial reaction for anyone not familiar with the intricacies of how the global economy works will surely see all of these things as solely good. Yet, as previously reported on IVN, each of these events may also point to ominous clouds on the horizon.

Now, there is a clear sign that the storm could be approaching: slowing job growth. According to the latest numbers released by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy only added 126,000 jobs in March, which fell well short of analysts' predictions.

"Not since December 2013 has the nation created fewer jobs in a month," The Washington Post reports. "March’s data, released by the Department of Labor, ends a 12-month streak in which the U.S. economy had added at least 200,000 positions. Economists polled by Bloomberg had expected employers to have added 245,000 jobs in March."

The national unemployment rate remains at 5.5 percent, but this figure never tells the full story on the state of unemployment (and underemployment) or the economy. Politico reports that this may be a sign of a stalling economy.

"Manufacturing is declining, and consumers are not spending despite a huge cash infusion from cheap gas prices. The housing market remains relatively weak. And while the jobless rate is close to where it was before the financial crisis, middle class incomes are not rising, the size of the labor force remains near a 30-year low and few economists see prospects for much faster growth on the horizon.   “The economy right now is very much at risk,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at investment firm Sterne Agee. “We are in a soft patch unquestionably. The question is how much of a soft patch. We are slowly losing momentum, and I don’t think the rest of the year is going be anything to write home about.”   White House officials insist that there are many bright spots in the current economy and they largely dismiss alarmism over a possible backslide." - Politico, April 3, 2015

Yet, as Politico reports, it was President Obama who predicted that the economy might stall.

Read the full story here.

Photo Source: Bloomberg News

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