Why the Jobs Report Means Diddly

The monthly ritual known as the jobs report made its appearance last week, followed metronomically by the monthly ritual of commentary and political reaction to the jobs report. It was a good report, as they go, with “ better-than-expected” job creation, more workers returning to look for work (hence a slightly higher unemployment rate of 5.7 percent) and major upward revisions to reported job creation in November and December of 2014.

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Reality Has No Partisan Bias

In the wake of last week’s job report, there has been a flurry of new debate about what precisely is keeping job creation in the United States so anemic.The pivotal issue is whether the challenges facing the job market are cyclical or structural. The cyclical hypothesis is that we are still suffering an employment hangover from the financial crisis and sharp recession of 2008–09, made worse by limp or insufficient government responses. 

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