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Five Reasons the U.S. Hiring Slowdown in March Might Signal a Weakening Job Market

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (04/09/12) Paul Wiseman

Although economists attributed the drop in hiring in March to unseasonably warm weather in January and February that prompted construction firms and other employers to hire workers earlier than they would have otherwise, some observers believe there are reasons to be concerned about the job market. They believe economic growth is not strong enough to sustain the average 246,000 jobs added per month from December to February, with a 2.5% anticipated economic growth rate only able to sustain the addition of 140,000 jobs per month. They also worry about rising gas prices and the fact that workers’ hours are being cut and that incomes are not keeping up with inflation. Furthermore, they point out that millions of Americans have stopped looking for jobs and that the economy still has not recovered all of the jobs lost since the recession. Around 8.8 million jobs were lost between January 2008 and February 2010, but just 3.6 million jobs have been regained since then.