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What to look for with the March jobs report

A job seeker carries a worn briefcase at the Green Jobs and Entrepeneurship Fair in Berkeley, California.

JEREMY HOBSON: Today we get the most important economic indicator of the month. The March jobs report from the labor Department. Economists are expecting the report will say the economy added around 200,000 jobs in last month which would make the last two months the best stretch for private sector hiring since the recession began.

Marketplace's Washington bureau chief John Dimsdale is here live with the details. Good morning John.

JOHN DIMSDALE: Good morning Jeremy.

HOBSON: So tell us what people are going to be watching for in the report later this morning.

DIMSDALE: Well, the real question is are we seeing a sustainable improvement. And one way to answer that is to look at how many of the new jobs are in manufacturing. Those are well paid jobs, which ripples out into the broader economy. It also show that the U.S. is competing globally and can export and bring down the trade deficit.

Economist Gary Shilling says an uptick in manufacturing would help the U.S. job market expand from relying so heavily on jobs in the services industries.

GARY SHILLING: You know, there's sort of a eat, drink and get sick syndrome. Which is bars, restaurants and health care -- which have been driving the service sector employment for years. You really wonder is that really sustainable in a global economy? Because those are things we're consuming but we're not exporting.

HOBSON: And what about those manufacturing jobs you mentioned, John. What is the outlook on that front?

DIMSDALE: Well, they've been improving, but not necessarily creating more jobs. The improvements have been more in productivity. Producing more goods at fewer cost including labor cost. That's really the only way to keep pace with global competitors. But you know at some point, demand for products outpaces the ability of factories to improve those efficiencies and that's when they have to start hiring.

HOBSON: Marketplace's John Dimsdale in Washington, thanks John.

DIMSDALE: My pleasure.

About the author

As head of Marketplace’s Washington, D.C. bureau, John Dimsdale provides insightful commentary on the intersection of government and money for the entire Marketplace portfolio.

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