March served up another heaping pile of disappointing jobs data on Friday morning. The employment situation report, issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that the United States added just 88,000 non-farm payrolls for the month. This is less than half of consensus estimates for about 200,000 additions, and about a third of February’s upwardly-revised figure of 268,000.
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The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly shrank in February, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The U.S. International Trade In Goods and Services report, released on Friday morning, showed that the trade balance narrowed from -$44.4 billion in January to -$43.0 billion in February, beating out expectations for a widening of the gap to -$44.8 billion.
Next week, President Barack Obama will propose changes to Social Security and other benefit programs when he releases his 2014 budget. The details are not due to be released until April 10, but a senior administration official confirmed some key points on Friday.
The proposal would cut the deficit by $1.8 trillion over 10 years, from an expected 5.5 percent of GDP this year to about 1.7 percent of GDP by 2023. This will be achieved by editing a mixture of federal inlays and outlays — such as ending certain tax provisions and implementing the sequestration spending cuts — and until recently afforded few GOP calls for entitlement cuts…