March Employment

U.S. payrolls rose more than expected, up 216,000, which drops our unemployment rate another tenth to 8.8 percent.  January’s jobs were revised upward for a second time, adding 5,000 more jobs and raising that month’s total to 68,000.  February also saw an upward revision of 2,000 for a total of 194,000 new jobs.  As you can see, not only are previous months being adjusted upward, the number of jobs being creation are climbing month to month as well.  Good news!  Even the underemployment rate came down by two-tenths, now residing at the 15.7% level.

Almost every sector of our economy, whether manufacturing and industrial based or within services, showed some growth.  Construction was one notable exception where we saw a decline of 1,000 following on the strong 37,000 jump in February.  Government jobs were down significantly, off 14,000 this month after the 46,000 jobs were shed in the prior month.  This slip means even more people found jobs in the private sector than the headline suggests.

While the average workweek gained 0.1 hours to 34.3 hours, there was no change in average hourly earnings.  Temporary positions, a data point we like to monitor here at Atlas, added 28,800. I hate to gum up what appears to be a solid report, but some context is required.  Year-over-year job growth is up just one percent.  This is hardly stellar given we are approaching the two year anniversary of our last recession’s official end.