Top links: Why the bad jobs report? It’s the payroll tax, stupid

Updated
Construction was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bad March jobs report.
Construction was one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bad March jobs report.
Press Association via AP Images

Top story: The March jobs report was, well, not so good. But don’t blame the sequester — blame the payroll tax.

      • Here are the headline numbers: 7.6% unemployment and only 88,000 jobs created for March. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
      • “All told, it’s a weak employment report. Hopes that the recovery was taking off are on hold. Fears that it’s stalling remain overstated.” (Justin Wolfers)
      • Job growth appears to be slowing rather than accelerating, and “the unemployment rate only fell because nearly half a million Americans dropped out of the labor force altogether.” (Real Time Economics)
      • Of course, it’s not just us. It’s Canada, too. (Bloomberg)
      • “Smoking gun behind the weak report is in the hand of the payroll tax hike, not sequestration.” (Annie Lowrey)
      • “One of the biggest job losers was retail, -24k jobs, which doesn’t fit sequester effect story.” (Neil Irwin)
      • “Year-over-year *private* employment growth is also slowest in 18 months, so it’s not just austerity.” (David Leonhardt)
      • “Remember how everyone was saying nobody noticed the payroll tax hike? Well, you don’t have to notice it for it to hurt.” (Matt O’Brien)
      • Another kick in the pants is that while private-sector earnings are up 1.8% in the last year, inflation is up 2%. (David Wessel)
      • It also doesn’t help that we’ve shed almost 650,000 government jobs in the last three years. (Betsey Stevenson)


But there were silver linings…

    • “One bright spot was construction, which added 18,000 jobs in March.” (Real Time Economics)
    • “Interesting: Overall a weak report but broadest measure of unemployment, U-6, way down to 13.8% from 14.3%.” (Neil Irwin)
    • In fact, there’s a good chance that the jobs number is revised upward next month. (Betsey Stevenson)
    • And this is just cool (if you’re a Twitter addict): Economist and U. of Michigan Prof. Justin Wolfers was able to implant a jobs chart *in* his tweet. (Justin Wolfers)

Top links: Why the bad jobs report? It’s the payroll tax, stupid

Updated