(Wash. Post Wonkblog) Brad Plumer—The past Friday’s March jobs report: Just how bad was it?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

...if anyone is eager for encouraging signs, it’s worth pointing out that the very broadest measure of unemployment actually improved this month. This is the U-6 metric, which tallies up all unemployed persons, plus people marginally attached to the labor force, plus people employed part-time for economic reasons. Jim Pethokoukis likes to call this “perhaps the truest measure of the labor market’s health.” And U-6 dropped from 14.9 percent in February to 14.5 percent in March. Anyone trying to dig around for optimistic signs should start there.

Still, it’s a weak report all around. And we’ll know in a few months if March was actually as tepid as everyone thinks. In theory, the real significance of this report should be whether it convinces Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve that a little more monetary stimulus is needed. But how likely is that? The unemployment rate is roughly in line with what the Federal Open Market Committee has been expecting. And if the Fed’s content with the current state of affairs, then more help may not be on the way after all.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Economics, PoliticsEconomyConsumer/consumer spendingCorporations/Corporate LifeHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketThe Banking System/SectorThe Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007--The U.S. GovernmentFederal ReservePolitics in General

0 Comments Posted April 9, 2012 at 8:19 am

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