Podcast: The March Employment Report and What It Means for the Economy
April 2, 2010
I'm Michelle Bazie and I'm here with Chad Stone, the Center's Chief Economist to discuss the jobs report for March.
1. Chad, what does March's employment report show?
Today's jobs report provides further evidence that the labor market has stabilized after experiencing its most severe jobs decline since the 1930s. Job losses slowed dramatically after President Obama and the Congress enacted the Recovery Act in February of 2009, and the growth in payroll employment in March 2010 is welcome news and despite some monthly ups and downs, the economy has actually added jobs over the past five months.
2. So is the bad news in the job market finally over?
Well, before we break out the champagne, it's important to remember that special factors, such as the temporary hiring for the 2010 census, were important contributors to the gains.
We need much stronger growth than we have seen so far. And that growth needs to be sustained over a longer time in order to reduce the unemployment rate and to erase the huge jobs deficit that remains the legacy of the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression.
3. Are there things we can do to help people who are still having trouble finding a job?
Yes there are, which is why it's so disappointing that Congress has allowed the Recovery Act measures that provide extra weeks of unemployment insurance benefits and subsidized COBRA health insurance coverage for unemployed workers to lapse. We also need a meaningful jobs bill to provide a needed boost to the economy and make it easier for job-seekers to find work.
4. What should Congress do?
Congress should extend the Unemployment Insurance and COBRA provisions to the end of the year and they should provide additional fiscal assistance to cash-strapped states. These are two critical provisions in pending Congressional jobs bills - and they are widely recognized as highly effective ways to boost economic activity and create jobs. Congress should act quickly to pass this legislation. It will help workers struggling to find a job and in danger of losing their unemployment benefits, and it will help the economy.
Thanks for joining me, Chad.
For more information about the efforts to stabilize and boost the economic recovery, go to the Recession and Recovery page at centeronbudget.org.