Will Jobs Report for March Bring Growth or Groans?

First and foremost, the economy grew at a 5.6 percent annual rate during the final three months of 2009. Compared to when the Obama administration took office in January of last year -– a time when the economy was declining by 6.4 percent -- it is clear that the nation is coming out of its recession.

The stock market has also seen gains recently, increasing by more than 5 percent during a one-month streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is now on the verge of breaking the 11,000 point barrier. If the market does so, it will have rallied 68 percent from its lows back in March of 2009.

Other positive economic indicators include stronger retail sales numbers, five months of increased consumer spending and more durable goods orders.

But most economists would say that the one factor that matters above all others is jobs, which is what makes the jobs report for March so eagerly anticipated.

Slump May Follow Growth

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's, said he believes the March jobs report will show 175,000 jobs created. But he advised the administration not to get too excited.

"I think they need to temper their enthusiasm," Zandi told ABC News.

The administration, he said, should expect a strong jobs numbers this spring, but a slump come summer.

"The next three months are going to be very, very strong," he said, but "in June, July, and August, the jobs numbers are going to be weaker."

There are two reasons the March jobs report could make the employment situation appear better than it really is.

First, February's numbers -– 36,000 jobs lost -– were hurt by the snowstorms that swept across parts of the country. The nasty winter weather caused some businesses to shut down and some job-seekers to stay home, skewing the jobs report toward the negative side.

In March, companies may have tried to make up for their reduced hiring in February. Zandi of Moody's said February's bad weather could boost the March numbers by about 50,000 jobs.

Second, the once-a-decade Census kicks into high gear this spring, another factor that could inflate the jobs numbers. In all, the census is expected to lead to the hiring of about 1.2 million temporary workers this year, with 800,000 of them coming onboard in late spring. Zandi said the census hiring could inflate the March jobs numbers by about 100,000 jobs.

As a result of the temporary addition of census workers, White House officials are well aware that it may be difficult to interpret the data to determine any large trend.

"There's a lot of different factors that we'll see in this jobs report," Burton of the White House said. "But the president is committed to putting the American people back to work and keeping this economy on track."

The director of the Census Bureau downplayed the impact that census jobs will have on the March job figures.

"The impact for the census on unemployment, if it occurs, will really occur for the May and June numbers," Census Bureau director Robert Groves told ABC News. "That is the period where we hire a lot of people to follow up on the non-responsive households."

ADP Report Dampens Optimism

As Rebecca Blank, undersecretary for economic affairs at the Commerce Department, told ABC News in an interview last month, "The census has a very positive effect on the economy. The hope, of course, is that this is going to be hitting just as the prime economic growth and employment are picking up, so that it will help that acceleration."

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