labor force participation rateJobs

Employers added 192,000 jobs in March, coming in just below forecasts but showing more people are finding jobs in what has been a sluggish recovery for the labor market…The March gain means the private sector has regained all positions lost in the recession…The Labor Department revised January and February’s job gains up by 37,000…The unemployment rate, which is obtained from a separate survey of households, remained at 6.7% in March…Employment in professional and business services rose by 57,000 and hiring at restaurants and bars was up by 30,000 jobs…The average work week for private employees edged up to 34.5 hours, offsetting a net decline over the prior three months.”  Also, “the main reason for the flat unemployment rate was a surge in the labor force — the number of people working or looking for work…After many months of people giving up the job search, that could be an indication more people are coming off the sidelines and back into the labor force.”  The reactions are pretty mixed (the good, the bad and the dirty little secret?).  Here are 5 solid takeaways (with graphs!).

Mario Draghi Appreciates The Advice, Really Not Really

“Although the European Central Bank took no concrete action on Thursday in the face of a decline in consumer price inflation to only 0.5 per cent in March, president Mario Draghi’s statement contained new language which has moved the goalposts for future action by the bank.  By stating that the governing council is now unanimously willing to adopt quantitative easing in order to cope with prolonged low inflation, the statement substantially alleviates the risk of secular “lowflation” that has been worrying investors for some time.” (Yes, seriously, we are calling it “lowflation” now) There’s a couple problems with QE in Europe: 1) “the ECB does not yet have an agreed means of adopting QE,” and 2) “there is no sizeable market for asset-backed securities in bank loans, and therefore no means of attaining transparent pricing for the packages of loans that the ECB might like to buy.”  That being said, rates and inflation in Europe are basically at the lower zero bound, and the ECB has indicated it will not allow the $/euro rate to rise much above $1.40 (currently at $1.37) without further monetary easing.  The Economist agrees that the ECB appears to be ready to “move beyond rhetorical threats and to act in June” if “lowflation” should persist; however “if [the ECB] does resort to unconventional measures, the most likely option would be to charge negative interest rates on funds parked by banks at the ECB.”  Then again, some people see this as more of the same: hot air rhetoric.  Meanwhile, this is what it looks like when central bankers throw down.  Also, this is what it looks like when financial reporters go insane.

OilByRail: Rail Fails Hurt U.S. Ethanol And Coal

The Renewable Fuels Association says “the rail system has descended into ‘sheer chaos’ [stemming] from pileups at BNSF Railway Co. in a critical northern stretch of the country where it is shipping crude oil from North Dakota’s booming Bakken Shale region.”  “The Association of American Railroads said that description is ‘preposterous and unhelpful.’”  Meanwhile, is that the sound of a pipeline being built?

HFT: BATS Corrects President’s Comments From Michael Lewis Debate

BATS President Bill O’Brien claimed in his on-air meltdown bonanza with Brian “The Dark Flash” Katsuyama that the BATS’ Edge exchanges “use the faster direct feeds offered by rival market operators.”  New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called him up and got the company to issue a correction saying that actually, scratch that, they “use slower data feeds to price transactions.”  Meanwhile, Charles Schwab thinks “high-frequency trading is a growing cancer that needs to be addressed.”  Also, here is Mark Cuban’s Idiots Guide To High Frequency Trading.

EU: It’s “Showtime For The Developed Market Recovery”

European P/Es have made a dramatic shift: “European shares now trade at their highest multiples for over 10- years and have moved from 10x in late-2011 to 17x now, a re-rating of c70%…European shares are no longer cheap on this basis and are even edging into expensive territory.”

USA: Tracking Billionaires With An ETF

Here’s a new ETF from iBillionaire which “invests in 30 large companies in the S&P 500 in which financial billionaires have allocated the most funds” (e.g. Apple, Wells Fargo, Coca-Cola etc.).  “Most retail investors don’t have a million or more to invest in all these hedge funds we are tracking.  So really what the ETF is about is giving retail investors access to products they didn’t have access to.”

Gross: Top Investors Press Allianz To Step Up Oversight Of Pimco

Three of Allianz’ biggest shareholders say that they are concerned about Pimco: “specifically, they said they wanted the Munich-based firm to rethink the management structure that was put in place at Pimco after El-Erian’s departure…They also want assurances on Gross’s pay and a detailed long-term plan on how Pimco plans to broaden its focus beyond fixed income.”  Meanwhile, the honorary CIO of Pimco, famous for being “less certain about interest rates” and showering with Bill Gross, died last week at 14.

USA: Soaring Housing Costs Driving Educated People From Big Cities

Cities like Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and San Jose — “long magnets for highly-educated people in the U.S. and from abroad — are simply pricing buyers out.  That’s a key reason places like Portland and Seattle in the West and Arlington, Virginia, and Dallas in the South are gaining educated professionals.”

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