After months of gains, jobs numbers are expected to plateau
UNDATED (NBC) -
It looks like Friday's job numbers due out in a few hours could hit a plateau, after several months of gains.
Economists think the unemployment rate may not change, but they're split over whether enough jobs were created to keep this recovery going.
The Secretaries of State, Treasury and Homeland Security all say they'll donate five percent of their salaries to workers hit by budget cuts, but experts fear some of the problems that could impact the economy are still bubbling beneath the surface.
Experts think we may see no change - 7.7% unemployment in the Labor Department's new numbers Friday morning.
"You still have that good sustained momentum. We're not seeing a spring slow-down in the overall economy that we've had over the last couple of years," said Wells Fargo's John Silva.
But the question is whether the job growth will hit the magic 200,000 plus. Some economists lowered their predictions after new jobless claims shot up for the third week in a row.
With 50,000 layoffs announced but not yet happening, the real impact of Washington's big budget cuts may still be unknown.
"While the number the hard number of layoffs right now related to the sequester is low, there are signs that the momentum is only going to build, particularly in defense related industries," said CNBC Washington Correspondent Hampton Pearson.
"We have imposed hiring freezes and halted many important but nonessential activities. However, we will have to do more," said Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.
Most furloughs and layoffs from those cuts don't even start till this month, so it could be May, even June before we see the effect on unemployment.
The bottom line that many analysts feel the economy is middle-of-the-road right now.
Stocks, foreclosures, household wealth, and retail sales have bounced back, but housing, auto sales and industrial output are still struggling.
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