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Vitner: Jobs Report A Reality Check for Economy

Sunday, 08 April 2012 06:23 PM

March's poor jobs report should serve as a "reality check" for those who felt the economy was gaining enough momentum that the Federal Reserve was growing comfortable with the pace of recovery, says Mark Vitner, senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities.

The economy added a net 120,000 nonfarm payrolls in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, far below market expectations for over 200,000.

Prior to March, monthly jobs reports have surprised on the upside, fueling sentiment the Fed was growing less inclined to buy bonds held by banks and injecting them with liquidity in an effort to juice the economy.

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Such policy, known technically as quantitative easing but dubbed by critics as printing money out of thin air, is used when rate-cuts alone won't work and a sign the economy could be in trouble.

While the Fed has hinted it's less inclined to roll out extraordinary measures, it hasn't closed the door on them.

"This serves as a big reality check for folks that were thinking that economic growth had ratcheted up to the point where the Federal Reserve didn't need to worry so much," says Vitner, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Others point out the Fed doesn't make monetary policy decisions over the behavior of one economic indicator, although the possibility of stimulus is not off the table.

"The Fed is not going to be happy about the jobs report but it's not going to overreact to any one number either. There is a lot of volatility month to month in the jobs report," Steve Blitz, senior economist for ITG Investment Research in New York, tells CNNMoney.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said before March's jobs numbers were released that unemployment rates are still too high.

"We haven't quite yet got to the point where we can be completely confident that we're on a track to full recovery," Bernanke told ABC News recently.

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Sunday, 08 April 2012 06:23 PM
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