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March jobs report disappointing, but not a disaster

Julia Coronado Apr 9, 2012

Jeremy Hobson: Word this morning from the Japanese newspaper Nikkei that Sony is planning on cutting about 6 percent of its workforce, or 10,000 jobs worldwide. The company is struggling in part because it’s been losing money selling TVs for the last seven years.

So is the Sony news an anomaly? Or does it fit into a more troubling employment picture after last Friday’s jobs report showed March job growth was lackluster.

Julia Coronado is chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas and she’s with us live from New York. Good morning.

Julia Coronado: Good morning.

Hobson: So what do you think? You put these two things together — the Sony news and the jobs report from the Labor Department — it doesn’t look good.

Coronado: It doesn’t look great. I mean, 120,000 jobs is a big disappointment — it’s not a disaster. So it’s not like we’re tipping into recession or anything close to it, but it does throw a little bit of cold water on the notion that we were just starting to rev up and kick into full gear in the U.S.

Hobson: Well it does remind us of the last couple of years, we’ve had these bad Marches in the last couple of years where things start to turn in the wrong direction. What’s going on this time?

Coronado: Yeah, it does start to feel like the movie “Groundhog Day” where Bill Murray keeps waking up to the same day, morning after morning. So you know, sometimes we hit a weak patch, we blame it on weather — be it cold winter or this time a warm winter — or we hit a strong patch and we say the consumer’s back. But if we just kind of pull away the curtains and look at the fundamentals of the recovery, it’s just a tough gradual recovery. We’re moving in the right direction, we are re-hiring people. But there are lows in this process, and we are digging ourselves out of a pretty deep hole, so it’s going to take a while.

Hobson: Julia Coronado, chief economist with the investment bank BNP Paribas. Thanks as always.

Coronado: It’s a pleasure.

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