May 3 - The unemployment rate came down to 7.5 percent in April- and this time it was for a good reason . Bobbi Rebell reports.
A spring awakening for the job market- 165,000 new jobs were created- 20,000 more than expected. And the unemployment rate not only fell to 7.5 percent- it fell because more people got jobs. In March it fell- but because a lot of people gave up looking. Alan Krueger, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors: SOUNDBITE: ALAN KRUEGER, CHAIRMAN, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISORS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "What we've seen as the unemployment has fallen from 10 percent back in October of 2009 down to 7.5 percent primarily job growth is the reason for the decline in the unemployment rate." The jobless rate hasn't been this low since 2008. And both February and March payrolls were revised sharply higher. The improvement came despite the negative impact of higher taxes, and budget cuts from DC- which included furloughs. Societe Generale's Aneta Markowska says the worst of that will soon be over. SOUNDBITE: ANETA MARKOWSKA, ECONOMIST, SOCIETE GENERALE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "As we get through sort of the worst of fiscal restraint and put that behind us, by the second half of the year we'll be back to sort of private sector fundamentals- what is going on in the private economy, and there I actually do see a fundamental improvement." A lot of the job growth came in low paying sectors- like retail and restaurants. But the average work week fell-and wages rose. BNP Paribas North America Chief Economist Julia Coronado: SOUNDBITE: JULIA CORONADO, CHIEF EOCNOMIST, BNP PARIBAS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The ability of employers to gain more out of their existing workforce- they have exhausted that. So that productivity growth boom is over and now employers actually do have to add people when they want to grow or expand. And so that is good news for the labor force." While the data was stronger than forecast- the unemployment rate remains above the Fed target of 6.5 percent- and economists expect the Fed to maintain the current aggressive bond buying to support the economy. Stocks rallied to new record highs on the news. Don Hodges, Chairman of the Investment Committee at the Hodges Funds: SOUNDBITE: DON HODGES, CHAIRMAN OF THE INVESTMENT COMMITTEE, HODGES FUNDS (ENGLISH) SAYING: "By and large I think there is going to be a tremendous amount of money come back into the stock market. And that's positive." And if the stock market continues to climb- those increased assets could give consumers more confidence to spend- another boost to economic growth.