April 05, 2013 at 10:49 AM EDT
Jobs Numbers Weakest in Nine Months
The jobs numbers are out, and they’re not good. U.S. employers added 88,000 jobs in March – the smallest number since last June. Economists were expecting employers to add 200,000 jobs. Not surprisingly, stocks haven’t responded well to the news. The S&P 500 opened down 1.25%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 1%. The NASDAQ was off 1.6%. What could help stocks rally throughout the day is the fact that February payrolls were revised upward to 268,000 jobs from the 236,000 jobs that had been previously reported. January was also revised up, from 119,000 jobs to 148,000 jobs. Also softening the blow is that the unemployment rate ticked down another tenth of a percentage, from 7.7% to 7.6% – the lowest level since December 2008. That’s one tick closer to the magical 6.5% number the Fed says it will take to sway them from their policy of holding interest rates near zero. The disappointing jobs numbers surely won’t do much to convince the Fed to halt their bond-buying stimulus measures. Despite the slightly improved unemployment rate, the Fed will almost certainly continue to buy $85 billion a month in bonds with the jobs numbers so low.
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