After a strong February, March's unemployment report reveals that the sequester may be taking its toll on the economy.
Only 88,000 jobs were added, which was lower than analysts expected. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent from 7.7, a continuing trend over the past several months that indicates that older workers are leaving the workforce, and others may be giving up.
"Certainly, there's a lot of discouragement out there," said The New York Times' Catherine Rampell. "But many workers don't really have the luxury of just giving up because they don't have any other source of income."
"So there are a lot of people who certainly get discouraged, who feel like their prospects are nil or close to it, but they have to keep pounding the pavement because their unemployment checks ran out. They don't have any other source of income."
The Wall Street Journal's Sudeep Reddy says it might be little early to blame the disappointing numbers entirely on the sequester.
"It's really a bit of a mystery here how we can have so many months of relatively strong job growth and then just suddenly snap back," he said. "It partly seems like a cruel joke to see this year after year after year in the labor market, but there's something fundamental going on that is certainly affecting it."
Listen to the full audio above for the full analysis.
Looking for something to read this weekend? Check out #longreads suggestions from the Wrappers.
Catherine Rampell suggests:
- The New York Times' look at how computers could soon take over grading student essays (more on that later on tonight's Marketplace, too).
- An Australian comic translates Roald Dahl’s heroine Matilda for a Broadway musical.
- A new study shows that food deserts — areas with limited access to healthy food — may not have an effect on people's health or obesity.
Sudeep Reddy picks:
- The deadly flu spreading through China resembles the plot from the movie "Contagion," writes Laurie Garrett, who was a consultant to the film. (The Chinese government disclosed more cases since her piece ran earlier in the week.)
- Another former head of state builds a second act: Britain’s Tony Blair and his growing international empire.
- Alyson Shontell's piece on a failed startup and the founder who was driven to suicide.