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By Jason Stipp | 04-03-2009 10:10 AM

When Do Jobs Come Back?

How employment numbers play out in the economic cycle and what they're telling us now.

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Jason Stipp: I'm Jason Stipp, site editor for Morningstar.com. On the heels of a nice runup in the stock market over the last few weeks, labor department comes out on Friday and tells us that 663,000 more jobs were lost in March, unemployment hits 8.5 percent.

Here with me to sort through and put some of these numbers into an economic context is Bob Johnson. He is Morningstar's associate director of economic analysis. Bob, thank for joining me.

Bob Johnson: Nice to be here.

Jason Stipp: So, Bob, 8.5 percent unemployment, 663,000 there were some revisions in the numbers as well. What's your top-line take on those rates, those numbers and the rate of decline?

Bob Johnson: Sure. I think the first thing to focus on is the revisions. There was a big revision in the January number showing that we lost well over 700,000 jobs in January. And that number dipped into the 600,000s in February and basically stabilized again in the month of March.

So, the nice thing is the trend is positive. We've kind of stabilized the numbers. The bad news is that January was a lot worse than anybody really thought it was.

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