there seems to be a fair amount of concern that the new jobs figure for march means the economy has slowed down. 120k is low, the lowest number since last august's 52k. the latest survey result is an outlier, to say the least.
nobody knows for sure what caused it. too many variables are present, giving economists numerous opportunities to hypothesize.
possible causal factors range from oil prices to climate change to random fluctuation, among others. some employers continue to report uncertainty as a reason to postpone hiring. others say sales have risen enough to make them invest in more equipment, but not enough to allow them to hire workers to use the new equipment.
the warm winter has been indicted by several analysts who think workers got hired in december, january, and february who would have been hired later if conditions had been normal, so as time went on hiring fell to compensate. that explanation is consistent with the large number of total new jobs for the period. moving averages support it. the 3-month average is now 210k new jobs per month, the 4-month average is 216k/mo, and the 7-month average, september thru march, is 200k/mo. all those figures are quite respectable, so if the weather is indeed the main cause of the anomaly, prospects are good for a continuing recovery.
on the other hand, if the price of oil and gasoline is the culprit, and if they keep rising, new jobs may keep falling.
GOP pols and pundits are gleefully rubbing their hands together at the possibility.