The employment report for March shows 216,000 jobs created, and a fall in the unemployment rate from 8.9 percent to 8.8 percent. The Labor Force Participation Rate was unchanged at 64.2%, and the employment population ratio increased slightly to 58.5%. When we get closer to 400,000 per month, enough to recover at a reasonable rate, I'll cheer. We still have 13.5 million unemployed, and we need faster job growth to reabsorb these workers. But 216,000 jobs is progress. Not a lot of progress, but progress nonetheless and -- along with the slight increase in the employment to population ratio -- an indication of movement in the right direction.
Update: From David Leonhardt at the NY Times:
One of the big questions facing the Federal Reserve is whether the recent rise in oil and food prices will turn into an inflationary spiral. Today's jobs report suggests that the answer, at least so far, is that there is little reason to worry about such a spiral.
The average hourly wage across the economy -- including salaried employees -- did not grow at all in March.