U.S. Jobless Drops to 8.8%, Payrolls Increase by 216K in March


U.S. Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 216,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on April 1. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, leisure and hospitality, and mining. Employment in manufacturing continued to trend up.

The number of unemployed persons (13.5 million) and the unemployment rate (8.8 percent) changed little in March. The labor force also was little changed over the month. Since November 2010, the jobless rate has declined by 1.0 percentage point.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.6 percent), adult women (7.7 percent), teenagers (24.5 percent), whites (7.9 percent), blacks (15.5 percent), and Hispanics (11.3 percent) showed little change in March. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.1 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, at 8.2 million, was little changed in March but has fallen by 1.3 million since November 2010. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was 6.1 million in March; their share of the unemployed increased from 43.9 to 45.5 percent over the month.

In March, the civilian labor force participation rate held at 64.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.5 percent, changed little.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 216,000 in March. Job gains occurred in several service-providing industries and in mining, and manufacturing employment continued to trend up. Since a recent low in February 2010, total payroll employment has grown by 1.5 million.

In March, employment in the service-providing sector continued to expand, led by a gain of 78,000 in professional and business services. Most of the gain occurred in temporary help services (+29,000) and in professional and technical services (+35,000).

Health care employment continued to increase in March (+37,000). Over the last 12 months, health care has added 283,000 jobs, or an average of 24,000 jobs per month.

Employment in leisure and hospitality rose by 37,000 over the month, with more than two-thirds of the increase in food services and drinking places (+27,000).

Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in March (+17,000). Job gains were concentrated in two durable goods industries--fabricated metal products (+8,000) and machinery (+5,000). Employment in durable goods manufacturing has risen by 243,000 since its most recent low in December 2009.

In March, employment in mining increased by 14,000, with much of the gain occurring in support activities for mining (+9,000).

Employment in local government continued to trend down over the month. Local government has lost 416,000 jobs since an employment peak in September 2008.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from +63,000 to +68,000, and the change for February was revised from +192,000 to +194,000.


TradingEconomics.com, US Bureau of Labor Statistics
4/1/2011 12:39:18 PM