Positivity in the April jobs report?

Job seeker gives a resume to a potential employer.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the economy added 165,000 jobs last month, beating analyst expectations. The unemployment rate fell to 7.5 percent, the lowest since December of 2008. Does that mean a good spring and summer ahead?

"We're relieved, I would say," said The New York Times' Catherine Rampell. "The headline number was, you know, middling. It was fine. It was not nearly what the economy needs to recover a lot of the ground lost during the recession."

"But on the other hand," she continued, "there were a lot of economists out there who were worried that we were going to get a really bad number this month."

"I'll tell you what's really unfortunate about all this: Right now, policy is pushing in the wrong direction," said FT Alphaville's Cardiff Garcia. "So essentially earlier this year, payroll taxes went up on everybody. We now have the looming spending cuts from the sequestration issue. And unfortunately, even as a lot of other economic indicators are getting worse or at least are coming in worse than expected, policy isn't doing anything to help. And that leaves basically just the Federal Reserve -- but it too is somewhat constrained in what it's going to do."

"So I'm not too optimistic that things are going to rapidly accelerate from here -- relieved, though, I am."

For more analysis on the economy, listen to the full audio above.

#longreads

Add these weekend reading suggestions to your list:

Catherine Rampell suggests:

  • How a team of sneaky librarians duped Al Qaeda
  • The New York Times' coverage on the Bangladesh factory collapse, and the retailers' role in it
  • Why professors at San Jose State won't use a Harvard professor's MOOC (massive open online course)

Cardiff Garcia chooses:

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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