...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.
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Filed under: * Economics, Politics Economy Consumer/consumer spending Corporations/Corporate Life Housing/Real Estate Market Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market The Banking System/Sector The Credit Freeze Crisis of Fall 2008/The Recession of 2007-- The U.S. Government Federal Reserve Politics in General
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