Unemployment jumps, payrolls drop

Spring is off to a great start with the worst job numbers in five years.

By Andrew Leonard
Published April 4, 2008 5:30PM (UTC)
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The unemployment rate jumped from 4.8 percent to 5.1 percent in March, and nonfarm payrolls fell by 80,000, the third straight monthly drop, and the largest in five years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

Sunny-side-up economic commentators are already noting that during the recession of 2001, payrolls dropped by around 200,000 a month, so what's the big fuss? But Barry Ritholtz at the Big Picture points out that those numbers came after the huge job gains of the 1990s boom, while "the current backwards, cheap money, real estate-driven cycle has produced the least amount of jobs of any recession-recovery period post WWII."


The Wall Street Journal reports that there is "one bright spot" -- "a 0.1 percentage point rise in the average workweek to 33.8 hours."

Wonderful -- those of us who do have jobs are working harder. Someone remind me of when "the leisure society" is supposed to kick in, again?

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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