Today's jobs report is expected to say that the economy added around 150,000 jobs in April. That's a disappointment after the straight months of 200,000+ job growth was had at the beginning of the year. But I know better than to think this is just a letdown. I know it's the first-quarter curse.

For the last few years, the economy has played the same trick on us: in or around the first quarter, jobs growth suddenly roars to life. And then, just as belief in the recovery takes hold, we slump back into stagnation. In 2010, for instance, the average monthly jobs growth in March, April and May was 316,000. That was distorted by temporary hiring for the decennial Census. But after 24 months of straight jobs losses, it was exciting. It got Bernanke began talking about "green shoots." And then, in June, the economy lost 167,000 jobs. So much for the shoots.

Then, in 2011, the same thing happened. Between February and April, average job growth was 239,000. There was talk that we were finally out of the woods. And then came four months in which job growth averaged 80,000.
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