Disappointingly Slow Labor Demand Even Before Sequester Really Kicks In

Apr 05, 2013, 09:11 ET from The Conference Board

NEW YORK, April 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --

Comment on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Report
Kathy Bostjancic, Director of Macroeconomic Analysis, The Conference Board

The labor market had some reasonable momentum over the past several months, but with just 88,000 job gains in March, once again we see a disappointing seasonal slowdown unfold as we head into spring. What is even more troubling about the most recent slowdown is that it takes place even before the sequester cuts materially hit the economy. This reinforces our view that the estimated 3.5 percent real GDP growth in Q1 is not likely to be sustained. Instead, we see the overall economy, led by the consumer, downshifting significantly in the second quarter, struggling to get close to 1 percent real growth. The sticky point throughout the nearly four years since the official end of the recession has been revving up in the "core" service sector (which excludes health and education). While jobs were finally beginning to open up there, the impact of the sequester likely blunts that job growth a bit and leads to further contraction in government sector jobs, and will likely continue to keep growth on the slow boil throughout the spring and into the summer.

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