Warm Winter Heated Up the Cool Job Market
The Dow Jones dropped 114 points Monday afternoon, the first day of trading after the U.S. Labor Department issued a "disappointing" jobs report, according to CNN. The S&P 500 and the NASDAQ showed similar losses, at 15 points and 31 points, respectively. Could the weather be partly to blame?
Some economists are blaming the thermostat, at least in part, for the slowdown, claiming that an unusually warm January and February caused unexpected job growth over the winter. Others, of course, are saying that weather alone could not be responsible for the decline.
The jobs report showed slower growth than expected, with employers adding only 120,000 jobs in March, as opposed to 240,000 jobs in February. The previous three months had all shown gains of 200,000 jobs or more per month.
"It's a reminder that the U.S. recovery is not suddenly going to transform into a spectacular success, particularly not at a time when the rest of the world economy is stumbling," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist of Capital Economics.
Still, one jobs report may not be cause for alarm. The unemployment rate declined from 8.3 percent in February to 8.2 percent in March, its lowest rate in more than three years. And Q1 2012 was a positive one overall for the American wage earner, with most people's salaries finally surpassing Q4 2008 levels, according to The PayScale Index.
Only time will tell if the recession has truly ended, or if we'll have to ride out a few more iffy jobs reports before the economy stabilizes.
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