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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

April 19, 2010 at 9:30 AM

The slow jobs recovery begins, but relief for most isn’t in sight

When Washington state added 1,600 net new jobs in March, it was part of a broader national shift in employment. Weak, tentative, but nonetheless a rebound from the months of major job losses. According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, nonfarm jobs increased in 33 states and the District of Columbia last month.

Again, the gains were small. Maryland led the nation with 35,800. Not surprisingly, unemployment rates were little changed or even a bit higher: A stronger labor market will bring more workers in, thus the effect on the rate. And not every state is benefiting: Michigan, Nevada and Florida led the ones that continue to see net job losses.

Nationally, 162,000 jobs were added in March, but 125,000 are needed just to keep pace with the natural growth of the workforce. Notably, the number of “involuntary part-time” workers grew by 263,000. A total of 26.4 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. It’s a big hole, and at this rate will take years to dig out of, a reality that even Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke isn’t arguing.

The Back Story: The clearest explanation of the case against Goldman Sachs, at least from the economist’s perspective, comes from Brad DeLong at UC Berkeley.

The “win-win” benefits from free exchange of goods are complicated when the transaction is money for money. In that case, several essentials are needed, including information. “And here we come to the crux of the SEC’s Goldman Sachs case,” according to DeLong. It’s a quick, informative read.

Today’s Econ Haiku:

A tear in the earth

Just one spewing volcano

Clips the wings of man

Comments | More in Bailout, Banking, Jobs/Unemployment

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