Unemployment: Drop In Unemployment

April 7, 2012 by staff 

Unemployment: Drop In Unemployment, U.S. unemployment dropped unexpectedly to 8.2% in March — the lowest rate in more than three years — despite a mixed picture on hiring and apparent weakness in the retail sector.

Despite the positive headline number, the Labor Department reported that the number of unemployed workers hovered close to 13 million and hiring slowed, a warning sign that the recovery might be in trouble.

The economy created a meager 120,000 jobs in March, much lower than the 200,000 forecast by economists, who were left scratching their heads over the impact the unseasonably warm winter had on the statistics and other anomalies.

Chief among them was the spectacular collapse of hiring in the retail sector, which did not seem to tally with strong sales and spending reported in the sector.

Retail-trade employment fell by 34,000 in March, with most of the losses coming from large merchandise stores.

That contrasted sharply with Americans’ reporting they spent nearly 20% more in shops, restaurants, online and at gas stations last month, according to a report from the Gallup polling organization.

Perceptions that the economy has turned a corner will be hurt by the latest figures, as will President Barack Obama’s hopes of approaching the November election buoyed by a strong recovery.

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