April Jobs Forecast? Brighter Horizon But Still Some Clouds

"Given what the census did 10 years ago, we should get at least 100,000 additional census jobs in April and at least 300,000 census jobs in May," Zandi said. "Of course, those temporary jobs go away, so there will be a very significant drag on employment in the summer. June, July, August, September will see much weaker job numbers."

Moody's has predicted that the April jobs report will show growth of around 150,000 new jobs, with 100,000 coming from the census and the remaining 50,000 from the private sector.

Other forecasts call for even greater job growth, with some estimates putting the number far north of 200,000.

Democrats on Capitol Hill sure hope so.

Republicans, seeking to win back control of Congress this fall have been relentless in arguing that job growth has not returned fast enough or strong enough for millions of Americans.

"The administration predicted that if Congress enacted the stimulus plan, the unemployment rate would not exceed 8.0 percent," said Kevin Brady, the ranking Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, at a hearing this week. "The unemployment rate increased to 10.1 in October 2009, and remained at 9.7 percent in March 2010."

Brady cited a litany of the administration's policies, such as the health care reform bill, cap-and-trade legislation, and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts at the end of this year, as moves that are hurting the American labor market.

"The economic policies of President Obama and congressional Democrats, however well-intentioned they may be, are a hindrance to a robust job creation. If Americans wish to enjoy vigorous job growth, these economic policies must be reversed," Brady said.

Even White House economic adviser Paul Volcker acknowledged this week the unemployment picture is far from pretty.

"I am afraid the level of unemployment will be too high for too long," the former Federal Reserve chairman said in the prepared text for a speech in St. Louis on Monday. "My characterization of the outlook is a long slog."

Whether the forecasts of Volcker, Romer, Brady or Zandi prove correct remains to be seen. But it is safe to say that if Biden's predictions come true, many job-seeking Americans will be more confident about finding work again than they have been in a long, long time.

"Some time in the next couple of months, we're going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month," Biden said in April.

"We caught a lot of bad breaks on the way down," he said. "We're going to catch a few good breaks because of good planning on the way up."

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