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Growth cast's doubts on any soft-patch
Published on May 7, 2005 By terpfan1980 In Politics
Of course the Washington Post couldn't bother to put this one "front page", and barely bothered to put it front page in the Business section. The Washington Times on the other hand did a better job to reporting this as "news".

From The Washington Post, headline is linked.

U.S. Labor Picture Improved In April

Job Growth Suggests Stronger Economy

By Nell Henderson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, May 7, 2005; Page A01

Job growth surged last month as employers expanded their payrolls, suggesting that businesses remained upbeat about the economy despite its recent softness.
The nation's unemployment rate held steady at 5.2 percent in April as employers hired 274,000 additional workers, the Labor Department reported yesterday. The government also boosted its job counts for February and March.
Employers have added an average 211,000 jobs a month this year, picking up the pace from last year's monthly average of 183,000. That faster pace should bring the jobless rate down over time.

Please check out the original Washington Post article for a nice Flash chart showing the continuing decline in the Unemployment rate. Alternatively, you can go here http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm to check out the details.

The April job report appeared to reflect the economy's underlying good health, even though it followed a string of other data showing the expansion had lost steam in recent months, analysts said. U.S. economic growth slowed sharply in the January through March quarter, to a 3.1 percent annual rate, the lowest in two years, as energy costs rose, businesses and consumers pulled back on spending, and the trade deficit widened.
The firm labor market "does suggest that the economy may not be as weak as many previously expected," said Richard Yamarone, chief of economic research at Argus Research Corp. "If businesses are truly worried about sluggish demand, lofty energy prices and higher interest rates, they wouldn't engage in the costly practice of adding workers at such an elevated rate."
Stock prices were little changed after the report was released. Stronger hiring could mean bigger profits for companies that benefit from the extra household spending, but it also makes it more likely the Federal Reserve will keep steadily raising interest rates to keep inflation in check.

... more at linked article

From the Washington Times, again headline is linked.

Growth casts doubt on 'soft patch'

By Patrice Hill

A surge of 274,000 new jobs last month in health care, education, construction, finance and other service- and housing-related industries cast doubt on assertions the economy is going through a "soft patch."
The robust jobs report from the Labor Department yesterday offered estimates of job growth that were 93,000 higher in the past three months and brought the monthly average of new jobs to nearly a quarter million.
Among the major industries, only manufacturing continued to experience job losses, while the unemployment rate remained at 5.2 percent last month as 605,000 idled workers were drawn back into the market to absorb the new jobs.
"The feared 'soft patch' looks now like just a puddle by the side of the road," said Bill Cheney, chief economist with John Hancock Financial Services, referring to widespread fears that the economy had fallen into a rut caused by high energy prices.
"The U.S. jobs machine has finally shifted into a higher gear," he said, noting that average wages and the average workweek rose in tandem with the increase in job growth.
Mr. Cheney called the surge of workers rejoining the labor force "quite heartening" because "we've had millions of people standing on the side for a long time waiting for job openings."
The dip of 6,000 in manufacturing jobs last month -- primarily in textiles and furniture -- is not "a big deal," he said, while the surge of 47,000 construction jobs is "not surprising given the strength of the housing market."
Other areas of strong growth included 35,000 new jobs in health care and education, 36,000 new positions in professional business services, and 58,000 openings in leisure and hospitality businesses -- particularly food and drinking places.
A frenzy of drilling for oil and gas has pushed up minerals and mining jobs by 31,000 in the past six months, and even the hard-hit telecommunications sector saw job growth of 7,000 last month after 41/2 years of declines.
"This report is very reassuring," said Mr. Cheney, who added that its picture of jobs and income strength is confirmed by evidence of swiftly growing income-tax receipts flowing into government coffers.
Some said the job spurt would be short-lived, however.
"Common sense tells us this pace of payroll job creation is unsustainable," given "the implosion of U.S. automakers," slumping orders and production, rising interest rates and flat disposable incomes, after adjustment for inflation, said Richard Yamarone, economist with Argus Research Corp.
"Demand simply isn't strong enough to justify any sustained and voracious hiring spree," he said, though he called the report "the silver lining of a rather gloomy cloud of economic data" in recent months.
The upbeat jobs picture appears out of sync with a marked decline in consumer confidence in the past three months, economists noted. Usually, confidence is closely tied to the growth in jobs, but recently consumers seem to be taking their cues from record-high gas prices and a drooping stock market instead.

... more at linked article

Extra credit to the Washington Times for being fair and including much of the negative views of this story. It remains to be seen if these negative nelly's will be right and will get their wishes. For the sake of the citizenry, I hope these views are proved wrong and that the economy truly has kicked into it's higher gear.

For some more information on problems in the economy, check out this article from The Washington Times. Again, headline is linked.

Economy making Americans cranky

By Donald Lambro

Americans remain cranky about economic issues such as jobs and gasoline prices, but have become more optimistic about their own personal futures, political pollsters said this week.
'There is not any one thing that may be driving down the American spirit, but there are a number of things that have not gone well. All those things add up to a mild case of crankiness,' said Andrew Kohut, polling director of the Pew Research Center.
'I don't think things are surging or plummeting? in either direction, Mr. Kohut added. Still, he said, 'the public is displeased with the way things are going in the country right now.'
A nationwide survey of registered voters for the Hotline political newsletter, released Thursday, reported that 56 percent think the country is on the "wrong track," compared with 30 percent who say "right track," a five-percentage-point decline since February.
But despite growing concern about the economy, independent pollster John Zogby said, people are generally optimistic about the future.
"I am surprised when they tell us they are optimistic about their own future. The numbers are higher than they were a couple of years ago," Mr. Zogby said.
President Bush's increased negative rankings on the economy, mounting gas prices, Iraq and the failure to achieve any breakthrough on Social Security show that "we are still split apart, we are ideologically and culturally two nations and that things haven't changed since the election," he said.
"It's striking to me how many 48-48 or 45-45 [percent] numbers come up on almost anything," Mr. Zogby said.
The numbers are gloomiest on the economy, despite a decline in the national unemployment rate to 5.2 percent, a level that many economists consider full employment. A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll last month found 59 percent of people surveyed said economic conditions are getting worse, the president's lowest economic score in two years.
"One in five are afraid of losing their jobs. That's higher than usual. It's usually one in seven," Mr. Zogby said.
Republican pollster David Winston thinks the price of gas is the major factor behind the public's unhappiness.
"They have had a positive view about where the economy is going, but they have been unsettled by increasing gas prices," he said.

... more at linked article

Oh, wait, this one I understand - the original pollsters must have been calling the houses of the folks at Democrat Underground, or perhaps a certain C.O.L.'s house, where they were educated and informed on all of these problems in the U.S. economy. :-/

Again, credit to the Washington Times for giving a balanced report on the issues.

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