March Jobs: No Good

A weak jobs report out today, with initial estimates suggesting just 88,000 jobs were added in March.

A bit oddly, despite sequestration this was actually one of the strongest months for nonpostal employment we’ve seen in a long time. State governments added 9,000 workers. The total public sector contribution is negative due to an enormous 14,000 worker decline in U.S. Postal Service jobs.

People are initially pointing their finger at the impact of the end of the payroll tax holiday as a culprit. Job losses in the retail sector were large. That was 15,000 lost jobs in clothing stores plus 10,000 lost jobs in building material stores with the rest of retailing flat. Next week I believe the Census will give us retail sales numbers that may give us a better picture there.

The optimist in me sees that yet again we had upward revisions and simply wants to believe that these March numbers are wrong and will be revised upward. But hope is not a plan.