Unemployment will remain at to 8.2 percent in April 2012, a by-product of an economy likely stuck in neutral.
Few economic signs point to any improvement from last month.
The ADP Employment Report – a survey of payrolls released Wednesday- calculated the private sector added 119,000 jobs in April.
In March, the economy added 120,000 jobs.
Gallup pollsters track unemployment rates daily, and their findings resulted in an April unemployment rate of 8.25%, with a 1-percentage point margin of error.
In March, unemployment was 8.2 percent.
The manufacturing sector – a bright spot in the economy – added jobs for the last 6 months and comprised ¼ of all private sector job growth last month.
Signals from the manufacturing sector show contradictory results. The ADP payroll report says manufacturing declined by 5,000 jobs in April, while the Institute of Supply Management’s manufacturing report determines that manufacturing indeed grew in April.
How manufacturing actually fared in April will matter in real terms to the rest of the economy.
“Manufacturing need more inputs, so it in turn creates more jobs in other areas of the economy while service jobs seem to have little to no feedback effects,” said Leon Battista, economics professor at Bronx Community College.
The relative economic standstill in April – the first month of the second quarter of 2012 – will likely reverberate in economic policy measures that will extend into the next few years.
The Federal Reserve revised its unemployment predictions Tuesday, foretelling the year 2012 will end with the unemployment rate between 7.8 and 8.0 percent.
This prediction – a slight drop from its 8.2 to 8.5 percent prediction for Jan 2012 unemployment – shows the Federal Reserve believes the economy will continue its painstakingly slow growth for at least the rest of the year.
Their prediction also bolsters predictions that the Fed will keep lending rates at near zero.
“I don’t think we will see interest rate changes for at least a year and a half,” Battista said.
April’s unemployment numbers will also set the tone for Pres. Obama’s re-election campaign.
The campaign kicks off May 5 at Ohio State University, one day after the April unemployment numbers are released.
Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are polling in a dead heat in the highly-contested states of Florida and Ohio, according to a Quinnipac University survey conducted April 25 – May 1.
A majority of voters in these states say believe the economy is in a recession but is recovering.
“It really all comes down to who we put into office,” said Roy Anderson, a retired professor of Economics at California State University. “That is what will set the tone for the policies for how we get out of this stubborn economy.”