Economic Statistics for 5 Apr 13
The BLS reports non-farm payroll jobs increased by only 88,000 in March, while the unemployment level fell 0.1% to 7.6%. Private payrolls increased only 95,000. Average hourly earnings were unchanged, while the average workweek increased a single tick to 34.6 hours. The internals of the report are uniformly bad. The labor force participation rate fell to 63.3%, the lowest since May, 1979. 496,000 people left the labor force since last month, as it fell from 155,524,000 to 155,028,000. The number of persons who declared themselves employed in the household survey fell from 143,492,000 to 143,286,000, a decline of 206,000. The number of persons not in the labor force rose 663,000 to 89,967,000. The employment to population ratio is back down to 58.5, matching the lows of the 2009-2010 recession, and the historic lows of the 1978-1982 period. While it will probably be reported as a "bright spot" in an otherwise dreary employment report, even the drop in the official unemployment rate is bad, in that it is merely a reflection of the fact the people are leaving the labor force faster than new jobs can be created. So many people have left the labor force that the official unemployment rates are essentially useless. This month’s huge drop in the size of the labor force caused the U-6 unemployment rate, the broadest official measure of unemployment, to fall sharply from 14.3% last month to 13.8%. In actuality, using the historical average labor force participation rate, the real rate of unemployment jumped from 11.47% to 11.65%, the highest since Jan, 2012. There is simply nothing good in this report.
The US trade balanced narrowed slightly in February to $-43.0 billion from $-44.4 billion the previous month.