Read the fine print in job numbers

Commentary: A painful drop in our standard of living

A pleasant surprise in March hiring has pushed up all long-term rates: 10-year Treasurys to 3.94 percent, and mortgages to 5.25 percent.

Even better news than the jobs: Rates could have gone a great deal higher. Other new data this week were as positive as employment: the Institute for Supply Management’s survey of manufacturing in March jumped past expectations to the best reading since 2004, to a 59.6 reading. The level of industrial activity is still below pre-recession, but improvement is clear.

Rebounding auto sales are pulling all the way through the supply chain — from inventory rebuilding, to the shop floor, to raw materials. …