The Truth Behind Friday’s Jobs Market Report

More Jobs Created but Underemployment Rate Goes UpBoy…did investors ever get excited about Friday’s jobs market report. In case you haven’t heard, in March, 192,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy.

The chart below shows stock market investor reaction after March’s jobs market report was released Friday morning; and investors bought more stocks!

Sure, the March jobs market report showed some improvement. But investors overreacted, as usual. In fact, for me, it’s just more of the same old thing: investors are taking any type of good news as an excuse to push stock prices higher, which is a classic sign of a market top.

S&P 500 Large Cap ChartChart courtesy of

Deep in March’s jobs market report, we just see more of the same structural problems that have been plaguing the U.S. economy for years now.

In specific…

  • 15% of all the jobs created in March were in the low-paying food services and drinking sector. That’s 30,000 jobs.
  • The number of part-time workers in the economy continues to rise at an alarming rate. In March, there were 225,000 more part-time workers than in February—there are a total of 7.4 million part-time workers in the U.S. economy!
  • The long-term unemployed in the U.S. jobs market continues to rise. In March, they accounted for 35.8% of all unemployed. Right now, the average duration of unemployment for an American worker is 35.6 weeks. At the end of 2007, it was 17 weeks. (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis web site, last accessed April 4, 2014.)

Finally, the underemployment rate—which includes people who have given up looking for work and people who have part-time jobs, but who want full-time work—remains very high. In fact, in March, the underemployment rate edged slightly higher to 12.7%.

Friday’s jobs market report may have sent a wave of optimism to speculators who jumped in to buy more stocks, but I am not convinced. There are a significant number of troubles that still circle the U.S. jobs market and economy. It all pretty much tells me one thing: irrationality is very high in the stock market. I question how long this can go on.