Jobs: Not as bad as it looks

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Article Highlights

  • Most economists were expecting today’s jobs report to reveal at least 200k jobs added in march.

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  • The latest jobs report is not as bad as it looks writes @AEIecon’s Kevin Hassett.

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  • As for sequestration, the spending cuts are just too small to be that visible in the jobs data, especially this early.

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There has been so much good economic news dribbling in recently that most economists were expecting today’s jobs report to reveal that at least 200,000 jobs were added in March. The data are finally beginning to look more normal, auto sales have been climbing smartly, for example, and a string of good but not great reports was to be expected. Given that, the news that the economy only created 88,000 jobs comes as a kick in the teeth.  We can expect the Keynesian choir to assert that sequestration is beginning to open the gates of hell.

There are two responses to that. First, the report is not as bad as it looks. Upward revisions to previous months added a whopping 61,000 jobs, so the positive jobs news we got today is closer to 150,000 for the first quarter as a whole. If one adds the fact that upward revisions are becoming the rule rather than the exception, it is possible that March will end up looking as anticipated in the fullness of time.

As for the sequestration, the spending cuts are just too small to be that visible in the data, especially this early.

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About the Author

 

Kevin A.
Hassett
  • Kevin A. Hassett is the State Farm James Q. Wilson Chair in American Politics and Culture at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is also a resident scholar and AEI's director of economic policy studies.



    Before joining AEI, Hassett was a senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and an associate professor of economics and finance at Columbia (University) Business School. He served as a policy consultant to the US Department of the Treasury during the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

    Hassett has also been an economic adviser to presidential candidates since 2000, when he became the chief economic adviser to Senator John McCain during that year's presidential primaries. He served as an economic adviser to the George W. Bush 2004 presidential campaign, a senior economic adviser to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign, and an economic adviser to the Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign.

    Hassett is the author or editor of many books, among them "Rethinking Competitiveness" (2012), "Toward Fundamental Tax Reform" (2005), "Bubbleology: The New Science of Stock Market Winners and Losers" (2002), and "Inequality and Tax Policy" (2001). He is also a columnist for National Review and has written for Bloomberg.

    Hassett frequently appears on Bloomberg radio and TV, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, NPR, and "PBS NewsHour," among others. He is also often quoted by, and his opinion pieces have been published in, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

    Hassett has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College.

  • Phone: 202-862-7157
    Email: khassett@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Emma Bennett
    Phone: 202-862-5862
    Email: emma.bennett@aei.org

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