The Employment Situation

While a loss of 80,000 jobs is troubling, an even more disturbing trend in the private job market continues. In March, the private sector shed 98,000 jobs, marking the fourth consecutive month to see private-sector losses. (click on image to enlarge) Dean Baker at Center for Economic and Policy Research has a good write-up of the situation: Overall, the private sector has lost 296,000 jobs over the last three months, a decline of 97,000 per month. Not surprisingly, the weakness in the labor market is also affecting wage growth. Wages grew at just a 2.5 percent annual rate over the last quarter, well below the rate of inflation and down sharply from the 3.6 percent growth rate over the last year. The household survey showed a 0.3 percentage point jump in the unemployment rate to 5.1 percent, while the employment population ratio (EPOP) fell to 62.6 percent, the lowest rate since March of 2005.
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