Economists: Jobs Report Confirms Soft Landing

Ben Bernanke at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Ben Bernanke at Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Mixed messages: analysts decoding Friday's jobs report see a slightly disappointing February, but a stronger December and January. However, the different numbers didn't stop two experts from telling "Morning Call" that the news is good.

Diane Swonk, chief economist and senior managing director at Mesirow Financial, urged viewers to "listen to the current Fed chairman, not the past one" -- ostensibly, a reference to the firestorm following ex-Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan's remarks regarding a possible recession.

For counterpoint, Swonk noted that current Fed Chief Ben Bernanke "expects re-accelerated growth in the second half" of this year. She declared that the jobs report, while lower than many views, still contained decreased unemployment -- a sure sign of a soft landing, rather than a grinding recession.

Robert McTeer shared Swonk's view. McTeer, former president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and a Distinguished Fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), underscored the revisions to December and January's initial jobs reports, which resulted in upping the employment figures. "For several months now, they've revised it [jobs figures], and I expect that may happen again [for February]."

CNBC's Mark Haines pressed the NCPA fellow to predict what the Fed will do; McTeer noted that "inflation is higher than they'd like, while the economy" -- except for labor -- "is weaker." He asked rhetorically that "if you need to go up and down at the same time? You do nothing."