Unemployment Rate Holds at 6.7% for March

The Department of Labor released its March employment situation report (link opens in PDF) today, and things are looking good, but not great.  After adding a revised 197,000 jobs for February, total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 192,000 in March, missing analyst estimates of 206,000. 

The employment numbers translated to a steady 6.7% unemployment rate – analysts had hoped to see the rate edge down 0.1 points to 6.6%.

Although the unemployment rate was unchanged, a half-million Americans started looking for work last month. The March report indicated that more than six years after the Great Recession began, private employers have finally regained all the jobs lost to the recession. Still, the population has grown over that time, leaving the unemployment rate elevated.

Source: Labor Department. 

Government employment added on 9,000 jobs for February, but March's number clocked in at no change.

Most industries in the private sector saw employment additions, with professional and business services making the largest absolute gain (57,000). Education and health services added on 34,000, while leisure and hospitality jobs increased by 29,000. The only industry reporting a contraction was nondurable goods manufacturing, down 1,000).

For those with jobs, March's hourly earnings edged down one penny to $24.30. Americans did work more, however, adding on around 12 minutes to their workweek to reach an average 34.5 hours. 

Average hourly wages have risen 2.1% in the past year. Inflation has risen 1.1% in that time.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report. link

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