TODAY   |  April 06, 2013

Will a dismal jobs report cause trouble for White House?

“We have an economy that's growing, but growing slowly,” said John Harwood, CNBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent. Uncertainty, like the expiration of the payroll tax cut, could be dragging down the numbers as the Obama administration negotiates over entitlements. TODAY’s Lester Holt interviews John Harwood.

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>> today, is the economy really on the rebound? friday, the stock market closed down after a dismal jobs report, 88,000 jobs added in march, unemployment rate that dropped 7.6%. not because jobs were added. instead, hundreds of thousands of people just stopped looking for work all together. john harwood is cnbc's chief washington correspondent. john, good morning. it's good to see you.

>> morning, lester.

>> are we seeing the effects of sequestrati sequestration?

>> not much. maybe a little effect. it's only been in effect for one month. more likely we've seen some affect from the expiration of the payroll tax cut, which ended with that fiscal cliff deal at the end of the year. we have an economy that is growing, but growing slowly and is likely to, for some time -- demand is pretty week. when you add a little pressure, whether uncertainty over things like cyprus and continuing stresses in europe, whether it's the expiration of the payroll tax cut or a little bump from sequester, it's a fragile recovery and we're seeing some of the affects.

>> an attempt the a xrcompromise to cut come social security , medicare, some entitlement in change for more tax revenues . republicans have discounted. even some liberals of the president's own party don't like it. is that potentially a good thing for him? does it suggest he is finding true compromise?

>> well, he waited to issue his budget until the house and senate moved first. the strategy from the white house was he didn't want to inflame the situation in a part partisan way, but wait until the house and senate made some progress, got down the field a little bit. now he is coming in with an offer that, to some degree, is in the middle. he's hoping it provokes some negotiations to get things going. it's related to that weak jobs number because the budget cuts that the president wants to implement would, in effect, replace the sequester and have money drawn out of the economy over a longer period of time, not immediately. because short-term austerity is clearly not what the economy needs.

>> when you go after sboimt aentitlement and you have people in your own party that say they don't like that, does it give credibility to some republicans that say maybe he is moving the needle here?

>> that's certainly what the white house hopes. i talked to a senior official saying that maybe all this squawking we're hearing from the left about the effort to slow down the growth of social security payments, take some money out of medicare, maybe that will persuade republicans that we really are serious about doing something about entitlements. if we can persuade them of that, maybe they can come up with some tax revenue .

>> john harwood , thank you very much.