March Jobs Report Haters Living Outside Reality
NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Don't mistake Friday's stock market tumble as proof that the March jobs report is signaling the worst is yet to come.
The Labor Department reported the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate remained at 6.7%. Even though payrolls added came in 8,000 below what economists expected, most analysts said this was a good report .
Talk that a record cold winter derailed robust economic growth during the beginning of the year gained influential critics who wondered how long experts could blame the weather before finally realizing that maybe the economy wasn't performing all that well, regardless.
These arguments were evident after the jobs report emerged Friday.
Yet, despite Wall Street whispers of 300,000 jobs added in March, the latest report means that jobs are expanding at a clip of 187,000 over the past 12 months.
"I think this is good news; it's reasonably strong growth, it's better than we've seen in previous months and this will -- if it continues -- do a lot to help the long term unemployment rate," Peter Cappelli, professor of management at The Wharton School, said in an interview.
The long-term share of unemployment dipped to 35.8% from 37%, which is a decent decline that Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the central bank is monitoring.
Beyond that, economists and analysts are reminding market participants that weather really did slow economic growth, and data in the employment situation proves it.
"I think there's some good news in this report in the sense that this looked like kind of core jobs for the month and not a lot of the weather effects," Darrell Cronk, regional chief investment officer at Wells Fargo Private Bank, said in an interview. "There was a debate about whether the weather effect would happen in March or April, it looks to me like it might be April now."
In other words, if March didn't get the boost the more bullish analysts were looking for, then wait for April. But that shouldn't discount the fact that, minus a drop in government jobs, private sector payrolls grew by 200,000 -- a strong number by most analysts accounts. There's a possibility that strong job growth in the latter half of March was dragged down by slower growth in the first half (likely due to, you guessed it, cold weather).
Calling the March jobs report one of the most critical reports in recent months may be a fair assessment, but to say it wasn't any good ignores the subtle shift we're already witnessing.
Wells Fargo's Cronk said he is looking closely at construction, financial services and government jobs, which have struggled more than usual in the early part of the year. Cronk says he expects a regression to the mean by the end of the year, which could mean as many as 50,000 new jobs added to the economy. Construction, which grows during the spring months, jumped by 19,000, and Cronk said that may have been a bit weaker than average.