Hiring picks up in March: Official unemployment rate stays at 6.7%
It's being referred to as a "Goldilocks" report; not too hot, not too cool. And while it's not exactly "just right," as far as what the economy needs, there were some small signs that the labor market may be strengthening a bit - at lkeast, the chance of falling back has lessened.
The Labor Department report shows that the economy added 192,000 jobs in March while the official overall unemployment rate stayed at 6.7%.
Some takeaways from the March report:
The winter wasn’t quite as bleak as we thought. Job gains for both January and February were revised up to the tune of an extra 37,000 jobs.
- Adult men and women now have the same rate of unemployment, at 6.2 percent; women lost ground while men gained some.
- The long-term unemployed number didn’t budge. There are still 3.7 million people who have been out of work for more than six months; that’s fallen by about 837,000 over the past year, but is still historically high, with the long-term unemployed accounting for 35.8 percent of all unemployed people.
- The work-week got slightly longer (up by 0.2 hours) while average hourly earnings fell by a penny.
- Construction seems to be coming back strong. Since January, a total of 37,000 jobs have been added, boosted by new home construction presumably.
- The federal government continues to shed workers. There are now 85,000 fewer federal government jobs than there were 12 months ago.
According to the Labor Department report, other indices were not as encouraging:
Both the civilian labor force and total employment increased in March. The labor force participation rate (63.2 percent) and the employment-population ratio (58.9 percent) changed little over the month. The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 7.4 million in March. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work.
In March, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in March, down slightly from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.5 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Bottom line: No help for the long term unemployed, there are no fewer discouraged workers, part time workers who want full time jobs can't find them, and we're making zero progress on raising the labor force participation rate.
Other than that, things are just peachy.