A disappointing U.S. employment report for March was likely only a temporary blip in the gradual labor recovery of recent months, according to the latest report from mortgage giant Freddie Mac (FMCC).
Government data earlier this month that showed 120,000 jobs were created in March came in far below market expectations and raised concerns over the strength of the economic recovery.
Yet Freddie Mac economists cautioned Wednesday against reading too much into March's "noisy data" and noted instead some encouraging trends in the labor market.
"What many headlines missed...is that the first quarter of 2012 still registered the best quarterly payrolls performance since the spring of 2006," the firm wrote in its April economic outlook.
It added that March's data also showed improvement in a broad measure of underemployment that includes discouraged workers and those who are working part-time but want full-time jobs. The rate declined 0.4 percentage points during the month, to 14.5%.
Freddie Mac expects the labor market to continue to recover this year and expects a further acceleration in 2013. Currently, the firm is forecasting the U.S. unemployment rate to decrease further from 8.2% in March to 8% by the fourth quarter.
-By Mia Lamar, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-3207; firstname.lastname@example.org