Don’t blame oil for the lousy March jobs report


If the economy is slipping, it’s not because of oil.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that employers added 126,000 workers to their payrolls in March. That was the worst jobs gain since December 2013, and it was significantly less than economists were expecting for the month. After a string of very good jobs reports that seemed to indicate the economy was growing as fast as it has in over a decade, March’s jobs report was a letdown.

But some economists have said that we shouldn’t be all that surprised by the bad number, or even concerned. Why is that? The black mark on the labor market, they argue, was really on account of troubles in one sector: oil. And it was to be expected. Crude prices have plunged over the past six months. Lower oil prices means less fracking and drilling in America, which we have been doing…

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