I suppose this is good news ("good" meaning "less horrible"), but most of the new jobs added are in health care, or they're temp jobs. As we saw the other day, businesses are sitting on huge piles of cash but refusing to hire permanent employees:
After losing eight million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, payrolls finally surged in March, the Labor Department reported on Friday. Employers added 162,000 nonfarm jobs last month. Nationwide, the unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent.
“We are beginning to turn the corner,” said President Obama, speaking in Charlotte, N.C., calling it “the best news we’ve seen on the job front in more than two years.”
Though everything seems to be moving in the right direction, he was careful not to raise expectations too high. “It will take time to achieve the strong and sustained job growth that we need,” President Obama said.
The economy needs to add more than 100,000 jobs a month just to absorb new entrants into the labor market, let alone provide a livelihood for the 15 million Americans already looking for work. Without constant, robust growth, the unemployment rate won’t budge. Indeed, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the rate will hover around 10 percent for the rest of the year.
And in the meantime, two million Americans will lose their unemployment benefits Monday:
The interruption in benefits will last two weeks at a minimum, according to Judy Conti of the National Employment Law Project (NELP), since lawmakers return from spring break on April 12.
As the two-week recess began, Congress was at an impasse over how to extend the emergency unemployment insurance program and other expiring provisions, including increased COBRA health insurance subsidies for the unemployed, the Medicare doctor payment rate and federal flood insurance.
Senate Republicans said the $9.3 billion, 30-day extension preferred by Democrats should be paid for, while Democrats said the bill's cost didn't need to be offset because the program was "emergency spending."
Under the jobless benefits program that ends Monday, Americans out of work are eligible for up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits. The program, aimed at helping jobless Americans stay afloat when new jobs aren't readily available, gives an unemployed worker more than the 26 weeks of unemployment insurance normally available. But with the program ending, those out of work for as few as six months will see an interruption in their benefit checks.
This will be fixed when Congress returns and the benefits will be paid retroacticely, but in the meantime, a lot of people will be suffering real hardship. Nice work, House of Lords!