ECONOMY WEEKLY: WEEK OF MARCH 29, 2010

For Immediate Release:

April 2, 2010

Contact:

Katie Grant
Stephanie Lundberg
(202) 225 - 3130


“At the same time that we welcome today’s encouraging labor market news, it is obvious that the American labor market remains severely distressed…. While this is the most positive jobs report we have had in three years, there will likely be bumps in the road ahead.... It is essential that we continue our efforts to move in the right direction and generate steady, strong job gains.”
– Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, 4/2/10
 
Economy Highlights:
 
• According to today’s report from the Department of Labor, the U.S. economy added 162,000 jobs, the largest one-month gain in 3 years.  “The Labor Department said in a report Friday that nonfarm payrolls rose by 162,000 in March, the largest gain since March 2007…. Taking into account revisions to prior months, the U.S. economy added an average of 54,000 jobs a month in the first quarter, fueling optimism about the job market's recovery.” [Wall Street Journal, 4/2/2010]
 
• According to Standard & Poor's, “stocks are coming off their best first-quarter performance in a dozen years, up 4.9% year-to-date.... It's the fourth consecutive up quarter, the market's best streak since the five-quarter run that ended after the third quarter of 2007.... The market's strong performance during the first quarter has some investors believing the momentum can last, especially since the first quarter historically hasn't been one of the market's best.” [USA Today, 4/1/2010]
 
• A report from the Conference Board’s confidence index rose to 52.5, “exceeding the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News, from 46.4 in February, the private research group’s report showed today.” [Bloomberg, 3/30/10]
 
• According to the Commerce Department, personal spending increased for the 5th straight month in February:  “Americans continued to boost their personal spending last month, a further sign that an economic recovery is under way. Consumer spending accounts for roughly 70% of U.S. economic activity, making its revival ... crucial to a sustained upturn…. The new report showed personal spending rose 0.3% in February from the month before, the fifth straight month it advanced. The figures show that through last month, spending was growing at an inflation-adjusted 3.1% annual rate in the first quarter, putting it on track for the fastest pace since the first quarter of 2007.” [Wall Street Journal, 3/30/10]
 
 
Recovery Highlight:
 
• The White House launched a new feature on their web site highlighting how the Recovery Act is creating jobs and growing the economy. This week, the “Recovery Act in Action” featured Northeast Building Products, a Philadelphia-based manufacturer of energy-efficient windows. The small business owner was originally “skeptical about the benefits of the Recovery Act. In fact, he was so concerned that the Act wouldn't help the economy, he worried that the Recovery Act was ‘mortgaging the future.’ Fast forward to the present, where the Recovery Act has created a wave of new demand for the energy efficient windows his company makes. Based on that demand, his sales have picked up such that he's added 100 new workers, in occupations ranging from line workers to managers.”  [White House, 4/1/10]
 
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