Matthew Lickona 1:15 p.m., May 22
Jobs Growth Sharply Lower Than Expectations
The United States economy added only 120,000 nonfarm jobs in March, half of the 240,000 added in February, and down sharply from economists' expectations of 205,000 jobs, the Labor Department said this morning (April 6). The unemployment rate dropped to 8.2% from 8.3% because of people leaving the workforce. Economists suggest that the job gains in January and February were in large part seasonal and to some extent a statistical mirage. Stock market futures plunged initially (the market is closed), but futures are a thin market. In actuality, numbers suggesting the economy is weak should be bullish, because the Federal Reserve will have justification to add even more liquidity by buying bonds or manipulating financial markets upward in some other way, thus providing comfort to in-and-out speculators such as hedge funds and high-frequency traders who dominate the market. Remember: bad economic news is good news to Wall Street. As long as the Fed keeps manipulating financial markets, Wall Street is fattening itself off Main Street's pain.