Just as sober economists understood that the burst of economic growth and hiring at the end of late 2011 and start of 2012 was probably fleeting, there is reason to think the weak growth of the last two months may not last, either. The true underlying trend may be somewhere between the good news of January and February (caused in part by warm weather, which pulled forward various spending) and the disappointing news of March and April (because some spending that would normally have happened then instead happened earlier). If so, the coming months would bring roughly 175,000 net new jobs per month, on average. A pace of 175,000 would be fast enough to reduce unemployment, though not very quickly. The economy would remain years away from a full recovery from the financial crisis.
Nate Silver followed up with a political perspective:
In the big picture, the job creation numbers through the first four months of the year have been helpful on balance to Mr. Obama. However, the notion that the economy would just zoom forward, giving him a relatively easy path toward re-election, is now looking less likely given the April numbers and some negative "surprises" in other economic figures. At the same time, these are far from recessionary figures, and some of the macroeconomic risks stemming from the European debt crisis or oil price instability in the Middle East seem to have lessened. For the time being, this election looks to be roughly on the 2004 track, where a president with very average approval ratings and very average job growth was in a very close contest all year, and perhaps just put over the finish line by running a strong campaign. Still, economists have a long history of badly underestimating the chances of both positive and negative economic surprises.