Truly a mixed bag report, but in a broader context, trend of improvement in labor market remains in place
- 6mth average of payroll growth now 189k vs 198k
- Payrolls up 88k, with net revisions of +61k (Feb now up 268k)
- Unemployment rate down to 7.6%, due to large (-496k) drop in labor force; U6 measure fell 0.5% to new cycle low of 13.8% (high was 17.1%).
- Large outlier in retail trade (-24k vs 6mth average of 30k) suggests some seasonal adjustment issues related to unusual timing of Easter in March may have had an effect
- Average hourly earnings unchanged but aggregate hours firm again (0.3%)
- Total advance in labor income of 0.4% solid after 0.9% gain the prior month and sufficient to keep stronger consumer spending trend intact
Some more Fed comments on tapering in past 24hrs-with Williams and Lockhart starting to mention specific dates
Assuming my economic forecast holds true, I expect we will meet the test for substantial improvement in the outlook for the labour market by this summer, John Williams, president of the San Francisco Fed, said in a speech. If that happens, we could start tapering our purchases then. If all goes as hoped, we could end the purchase program sometime late this year.
*LOCKHART SAYS FED COULD POSSIBLY ANNOUNCE AN END DATE TO QE3 -CNBC
*U.S. FED’S LOCKHART SAYS “WOULDN’T TOTALLY RULE OUT” TAPERING ASSET BUYING BY THIS SUMMER -CNBC
*LOCKHART SAYS `GENERALLY THE TONE IS UPBEAT’ IN HIS REGION *LOCKHART SAYS THERE COULD BE `UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES’ OF QE *LOCKHART SAYS `I’D LOVE TO SEE 7 PERCENT’ ON JOBLESS *LOCKHART SAYS `CURTAIL’ GOOD WAY TO TALK OF QE OPTIONS *LOCKHART SAYS 3 OR 4 OPTIONS ON QE