Originally published April 9, 2017.
It’s difficult to pinpoint much of a long-term trend in just one jobs report. Initial reports by the March 2017 report show that total nonfarm employment increased by 98,000 across the country, less than economists had predicted.
However, the January and February jobs reports were very strong. January had a net increase of 219,000 jobs, while February had a net increase of 216,000 jobs.
We do have two overall takeaways:
- The economy is still improving for now, and we don’t have any short-term indicators that will improve. We have plenty of long-term fears. (Federal government spending, entitlement spending, sluggish growth in Europe, a decline in China’s economy, more protectionists attitudes toward trade, etc.) But for now, the short-term looks good.
- Retail is struggling. A lot. The job growth would have been much better in March if it hadn’t been for about 30,000 jobs lost in retail. Digital buying habits are part of the reason, but not the only reason. Also, online return options have made purchasing very easy and affordable.