From CNBC this morning: Gateway is closing nearly all (180) of its retail stores, laying off 2,500 workers. (I happened to enter such a store three years ago, newly opened in SB, when I wanted to buy a laptop. I went through my list of desired specs with the salesperson, had my credit card in hand and then was told that the machine would be shipped in three days. The salesperson told me that the store didn't stock computers, but was only an outlet for receiving retail orders. I left the store and bought my laptop--a Compaq--at Circuit City, muttering under my breath that Gateway's retail concept was idiotic. Three years later, apparently, they concurred.)
CNBC also reports that Sun Microsystems is laying off 3,500 jobs.
The Labor Department will issue its report on March job levels ten minutes from now. The concensus of projections is that the unemployment rate will remain constant at 5.6%, and the economy will add 120,000 jobs, about the same numbers as was projected last month, when the eventual figure was 21,000. (Recall, it takes about 150,000 additional jobs each month, on average, to keep up with the growth of the number of persons entering the workforce.)
To be updated very shortly.
Update: The numbers are high: 308,000 new nonfarm jobs in March; upward revision of February's jobs to 46,000 from 21,000, and January's job numbers upwarly revised too. The unemployment rate, however, increased to 5.7% and there's hardly any movement in the net income per worker and there's actually a loss in hours of work. Furthermore, the sectors that grew jobs were not high paying. Retail, services, and so forth. Manufacturing didn't add any jobs.
These figures, however, are fodder for the Bush campaign. If they keep up at this level in the coming months, look forward to four more years with Bush at the helm.