Quick Hits - March Jobs Report a 'Punch to the Gut'

The jobs report for March was underwhelming at best. Former Chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors Austan Goolsbee called it a 'punch to the gut.'

Most models predicted job growth between 160,000 - 180,000 for March. The just announced jobs number for March is only 88,000. Despite this low number, the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 7.6%.

So what happened? This is the first post-sequester jobs report. It appears that the sequester is having more of an impact on job creation than most assumed. Government job losses - a trend for the last few years - appear to be accelerating

A CBO study indicates sequester related job losses could top 750,000 in 2013 - hardly what our fragile recovery needs.

The coming week could be significant in breaking through the Congressional log jam. Congress returns from their two week recess. On Wednesday, President Obama will release his budget. According to a senior White House official, the President's budget will 'show how we can invest in the things we need to grow our economy, create jobs and strengthen the middle class while further reducing the deficit in a balanced way.'

Recent opinion research from Marist shows that Americans believe the top priority for the President and Congress should be job creation - favored over deficit reduction by a 2-1 margin.

What exactly can be done to create jobs? Investing in the jobs ecosystem would be a great first step - infrastructure, rebuilding our ancient electricity grid, and accelerating advanced manufacturing.

The real question: Is the March jobs report a blip or an ominous sign of things to come?