Kristin Butcher Lends Expertise to Analysis of March Jobs Report

April 7, 2014

Marshall I. Goldman Professor of Economics Kristin Butcher '86, spoke to Paul Solman of PBS Newshour about the March jobs report. Her interview was featured on the Friday, April 4 program.

“We have some real bright spots in this employment report,” Butcher told Solman. “We have about 192,000 new jobs, and in addition to that there are revisions upwards from the previous couple of months in the year. Within that, there are some nice things as well, which is that temporary business services seem to be up. That tends to be a bellwether, because temporary business services mean that they’re hiring temp workers in advance of hiring full-time workers. Construction numbers are also up and those tend to foretell changes,” explained Butcher.

In addition to chairing the economics department at Wellesley, Butcher is an expert on labor and health economics. Her research focuses on immigration issues and childhood obesity in the United States.

Although Butcher cited several positive highlights in the employment report, she expressed concern about the numbers of people who are still looking for work and have been unable to find it.

“I’m concerned that the unemployment to population ratio, which is a measure of how many people have jobs relative to the population, has remained pretty much the same since last year.” Butcher added, “I think we’re going to need to see many months of job growth like the one we [just] saw before the employment rate starts to come up substantially.”

Watch Kristin Butcher’s interview on PBS NewsHour’s website (starts at timestamp 7:05) or read the recap on Paul Solman’s blog, MAKING SEN$E.