Friday’s report from the Labor Department is finally here. We had seen lowered expectations ahead of this report due to weaker reports from weekly jobless claims, ISM manufacturing and nonmanufacturing job growth, ADP and even from TrimTabs. This is a disaster for the recovery.
The official unemployment rate was magically lower at 7.6%, versus 7.7% in February, due to a lower counted workforce. Both Bloomberg and Dow Jones were calling for the reading to be flat at 7.7%.
Nonfarm payrolls grew by only 88,000. Bloomberg was calling for 193,000 and Dow Jones was calling for 200,000. Private sector payrolls grew by only 95,000. Bloomberg had projected 200,000.
We warned on Thursday that unofficial estimates were likely lower around 175,000 or 180,000 on payrolls. The report was far worse than what we expected, and they were way under the bottom ranges of 170,000 to 175,000 on the numbers from Bloomberg.
Today’s numbers likely will not be helped by the February payrolls being revised higher to 268,000 from 236,000. The reason that unemployment has declined is that some 496,000 workers dropped out of the workforce. There are now 11.7 million workers in the United States who want a job but cannot find one.
Today’s news is awful, and trusting that lower unemployment rate is hard to do.