Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Gene Sperling attempted to explain the poor March jobs numbers Friday on CNBC.
Sperling declined to offer a specific rationale as to why job creation stalled in March, instead stating the report needs to be viewed in the conext of the U.S. economy coming out of “the worst recession we’ve had in a long time” and the sequester:
MARIA BARTIROMO: […] Let me get your take on the jobs report today, Gene. Obviously, a lot of people were disappointed, wanted a lot more job creation than we saw, 88,000 for the month of March. What happened?
GENE SPERLING: Obviously, everybody would like to see stronger numbers. I think related to our budget discussion, though, it’s an important reminder. Which is, we’re not just coming back from any recession, we’re coming back from the worst recession we’ve had in a long time. We need a stronger recovery and we should be doing everything we can to tear down the barriers that could keep us from expanding and growing as strongly as we should. So one of the things we should be doing is, you know, not having a sequester that people think will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, not allowing this uncertainty about manufactured crisis to take away the confidence of a lot of job creators for making long-term investments. So, if we can do a smart fiscal plan, one that still invests in infrastructure and skills of our workers, but deals with long-term savings and entitlements and tax reform, I actually think we can take away some of those barriers, take away the self-inflicted wounds and I think there would be a very positive confidence response if they could see us working together to get something like that done.
The March jobs report showed just 88,000 jobs added in the month of March, falling over 100,000 short of the 190,000 jobs analysts expected.
The labor participation rate now stands at just 63.3 percent, the lowest in 30 years.