Morning Must Reads: US Job Growth In April and No Easy Pension Fixes

In case you missed it, job numbers for the U.S. economy came out Friday. The numbers were somewhat disappointing as nonfarm payroll growth came in barely above the level necessary to keep the unemployment rate steady at 8.1%. On the other hand, one month of data does not a trend make, and looking at nonfarm payroll growth over the last three months, growth has been somewhat stronger.

Now for the grim news, although the economy continues to grow, it is growing at a pace well below what is needed to drive the unemployment rate down quickly.

Given that, the average job growth of the last three months—176,000 jobs—is probably the best measure of the current underlying trend.  This trend is above the roughly 100,000 jobs per month we need to keep up with population growth and keep the unemployment rate stable. The labor market thus continues to very slowly improve, but current growth is a far cry from the 350,000 jobs per month we would need to get back to full employment in three years.

In other news, The Associated Press does a good job explaining there are no easy fixes to the Pennsylvania pension problem.

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