Spring is finally here. The U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.7 percent, according to new data released Friday morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This comes on the heels of last month’s expectations-beating report, which showed a growth of 175,000 jobs in February.
The new report revises February’s growth to 197,000 and January’s to 144,000 jobs added, up from an original 129,000.
Friday’s report came in slightly below Wall Street’s optimistic expectations of about 200,000 added jobs in March. The U.S. economy has added 183,000 jobs per month on average over the last year, but the brutal winter across the country cooled things down a bit. Accounting for the latest revisions, from December through February, the average job growth per month was just 139,000, below the 225,000 average growth during the preceding three months. That drop-off can be partially attributed to interruption in construction, and heavy snow temporarily shutting down factories.
Signs of the positive weather change can be seen in the growth of the average workweek in the latest report. In March, the average workweek increased by 0.2 hours to 34.5 hours, including a 0.3 hour increase for the manufacturing workweek. In construction, the average workweek increased by one hour from February to March, returning to the 39.1-hour week from March 2013.
So if baseball season starting up this past week didn’t prove it to you, this new jobs report hopefully should: Winter is over. With the combination of February’s revised number and March’s near-200,000 growth, things are looking just a little rosier. The economic recovery has a way to go, but we may finally be turning a corner after a sluggish few months.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”