Apr. 5 - Just about half a million Americans stopped looking for work in the month of March casting doubt on the strength of the U.S. economic recovery. Conway G. Gittens reports.
The Daily Digit is 496,000. Close to half a million Americans stopped looking for work in the month of March, bringing the unemployment rate to a more than four-year low of 7.6 percent. The exit comes at the same time as other jobs data show the weakest growth in non-farm payrolls in nine months. Job creation of just 88,000 is a highly disappointing number for economists who were expecting 200,000 new jobs. It is unclear whether across-the-board federal budget cuts that began in March played a significant role in the weak pace of hiring, although nervousness over the cuts might have made businesses shy about taking on more staff. On the bright side, if there is one, the Labor Department revised readings for January and February to show 61,000 more jobs added than previously estimated. Wall Street is not taking the report well - dropping one percent in early trade.