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The Week Ahead: Spring bloom may fade for job market

This news story was published on April 29, 2012.
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By Tom Hudson, McClatchy Newspapers –

Baseball fans know not to get too excited if their team wins a lot of games in the spring. Athletes are healed and fresh out of spring training. But if your team is losing a lot early in the season, you may hang up your hat and wait until next season. Either way, there’s still a lot of baseball to be played before the run to the playoffs begin in the fall.

It’s much the same when it comes to the job market.

After a strong start to the year, fewer and fewer new jobs have been created as spring came to the U.S. labor market. The fewest number of jobs were added in March since the same month as last year’s World Series. (No, the two were not related.) Job creation dropped to a six-month low last month. On Friday, the April figures will be released.

The labor market had its own spring and summer swoon last year. There are worries we may see a repeat performance this year. Already there are signs hiring has slowed. Two weeks ago, the highest number of Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits since the beginning of the year.

As baseball fans know, even a World Series winner will lose more than a third of its games. Consistency, and winning when it matters most, makes champions. The monthly inconsistency of the job market is frustrating and concerning. Next season is now.

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