Although “The labor force participation rate, which measures workers and those looking for jobs … fell to a 32-year low of 63.5%, tied with where it stood in August 2012″—Mark Hanna at Euro Pacific gives out a “better than expected employment report”:
* The government reported a net 236,000 new jobs as the unemployment rate fell to 7.7%. Economists expected the 160,000 new jobs in February and the unemployment rate held steady at 7.9%.
* Service industries led the gains with 73,000 new jobs, while construction added 48,000 and health care provided 32,000. Retail also added 24,000.
* There was a downward revision in January’s data, from an initially reported 157,000 down to 119,000. December’s numbers, though, were revised up from 196,000 to 219,000.
* Average hourly earnings rose four cents to $23.82 an hour, while the average work week edged higher to 34.5 hours.
By Paul Craig Roberts’s assessment, this is “The Missing Recovery.” He pulls the curtain back on a declining “U.3 measure of unemployment rate”; declining “because it does not count discouraged job seekers who have given up looking for a job.”
• An “expansive monetary policy of bond purchases to maintain negative real interest rates continues 3.5 years into the recovery.” This comes “at the expense of interest income for retirees on their savings accounts, money market funds, and Treasury bonds.”
PBS admits too that, while unemployment dropped because people found work, “some 130,000 others stopped looking for work, so they were no longer counted.”
Robert Wenzel’s EPJ (Economic Policy Journal) has it right: This is a Ben Bernanke manipulated uptick.
We’re floating on a confetti of funny-money. How can we tell what’s real and what’s not real?