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.
What We're Following See More »
The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
The bipartisan legislation, known as the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, means taxpayers will "no longer foot the bill" for sexual harassment settlements involving members of Congress." The legislation "would require members to pay such settlements themselves." It also reforms the "cumbersome and degrading" complaint process by giving victims "more rights and resources," and by simplifying and clarifying the complaint process. The legislation is the first major transformation of the sexual harassment complaint system since it was created in 1995.
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.