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Variation in Economic Data - 4/22/15

After an employment report earlier this month indicated that the U.S. added just one hundred and twenty six thousand jobs in March, the fewest since December of twenty thirteen, some economic observers became concerned that the economic expansion was running out of steam.  But an even more recent Labor Department report indicates that the number of job openings in the U.S. rose three point four percent in the latest month for which data are available to five point one million – that’s a fourteen year high. 

Growth in job openings was particularly evident among retailers, restaurants and hotels.  Together, these segments were associated with sixty seven thousand more job openings in February compared to the previous month.  The rise in job openings strongly suggests that hiring will rebound in coming months, which means that March’s disappointing employment report will quite likely come to represent a statistical aberration. 

Recent data also indicate that the number of layoffs has been declining, suggesting that the recent weakness in the U.S. economy hasn’t compelled employers to begin slashing positions.  Some high profile companies like Walmart, Ikea and McDonald’s have also been announcing intentions to boost wages.

Anirban Basu, Chariman Chief Executive Officer of Sage Policy Group (SPG), is one of the Mid-Atlantic region's leading economic consultants. Prior to founding SPG he was Chairman and CEO of Optimal Solutions Group, a company he co-founded and which continues to operate. Anirban has also served as Director of Applied Economics and Senior Economist for RESI, where he used his extensive knowledge of the Mid-Atlantic region to support numerous clients in their strategic decision-making processes. Clients have included the Maryland Department of Transportation, St. Paul Companies, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Players Committee and the Martin O'Malley mayoral campaign.