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US nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 in March, and
the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7%. Employment
increased in professional and business services, in health care,
and in mining and logging.
Incorporating the revisions for January and February, which
increased total nonfarm employment by 37,000 on net, monthly job
gains have averaged 178,000 over the past 3 months. In the 12
months prior to March, employment growth averaged 183,000 per
month.All of the net job growth in March occurred in the private
sector, which now has exceeded its employment level in December
2007, when the most recent recession began. The private sector
lost 8.8m jobs during the labor market downturn and has
gained 8.9m since the employment low in February 2010.
However, government employment is down since the recession began
(-535,000), and therefore total nonfarm employment remains below
(-422,000) its December 2007 level.In March, employment in professional and business services
rose (+57,000) in line with the prior 12-month average. Within
the industry, temporary help services added 29,000 jobs in
March. Employment growth in temporary help services had averaged
20,000 per month in the prior 12 months.Health care employment rose by 19,000 in March, with gains
in ambulatory health care services (which includes home health
care and outpatient care centers). In the prior 12 months, job
growth in health care had averaged 17,000 per month, with most
of the growth occurring in ambulatory care. In March, nursing
care facilities lost 5,000 jobs.Employment in mining and logging rose by 7,000 in March,
led by gains in support activities for mining (+5,000). Mining
and logging has added 38,000 jobs over the year. Employment in food services and drinking places continued
to trend up in March (+30,000). This industry has added 323,000
jobs over the year.
Employment continued to trend up in construction in March
(+19,000) and is up by 151,000 over the past 12 months. Employment in other major industries, including
manufacturing, wholesale trade, and retail trade, changed little
Average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm
payrolls edged lower by 1 cent in March, after rising by 9 cents
in February. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings
have risen by 2.1%. From February 2013 to February 2014,
the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose by
1.1%. In March, the average workweek for all employees on private
nonfarm payrolls increased to 34.5 hours, offsetting a net
decline over the prior 3 months. Turning now to the survey of households, the unemployment
rate, at 6.7%, was unchanged in March, and the number of
unemployed persons remained at 10.5m. The number of
unemployed persons who had been jobless for 27 weeks or more was
little changed (3.7m). These individuals accounted for
35.8% of the unemployed. Both the civilian labor force and total employment
increased in March. The labor force participation rate (63.2%) and the employment-population ratio (58.9%)
changed little over the month. Among persons who were neither working nor looking for work
in March, 2.2m were classified as marginally attached to
the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (These
individuals had not looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the
survey but wanted a job, were available for work, and had looked
for a job within the last 12 months.) The number of discouraged
workers, a subset of the marginally attached who believed that
no jobs were available for them, edged down over the year to
698,000 in March. In summary, employment rose by 192,000 in March, and the
unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7%.
Marcus Bullus, trading director ofMB
Capital, commented: "The equity markets got exactly what they wished for - healthy rather than
hyperbolic job growth, and the likelihood that the taper pace will stay put.
"While upward revisions to the February figure mean the March number is
technically a fall in the rate of job creation, it is still bang on trend.
"The upshot is the US economy is growing at a steady rather than stellar rate,
and Janet Yellen is unlikely to tinker with the rate of taper.
"The Fed is now set to continue its accommodative approach, weaning the US
economy off its money-printing stimulus at the current gentle pace.
"All this is balm for the anxious equity markets, and the prospect of more
'steady as she goes' monetary policy has sent Treasuries down and stocks
climbing toward new highs."
Prof Peter Morici of
% University of Maryland commented: "The
economy created 192,000 jobs in March, down from 197,000 in February, and still
well below the pace needed to lower underemployment to respectable levels. Those
mediocre results are consistent with a broadly underperforming economy.
Manufacturing employment lost 1,000 jobs, and government stalled. Other than
construction, which gained 19,000 employees, most new positions were in lower
paying activities like leisure and hospitality, support activities in health
care, retail, and temporary business services.
Hourly earnings fell, indicating good jobs continue to be scarce.
In 2013, GDP growth was only 1.9%, thanks to the $200 billion January tax
increase and federal spending cuts, but after a slow first quarter, most
economists expect the pace to accelerate to 3% by the second half of this year.
Improved prospects are raising home values and President Obama is not likely to
get from Congress the higher taxes in his budget proposal. Jobs creation is
likely to be in the range of 200,000 per month; however, should the president
get the higher taxes he wants, the situation would worsen.
Global growth is rebalancing from Asia to the Atlantic community, as Europe
shakes off the worst of its sovereign and bank debt problems, and this will
reduce vulnerabilities to dodgy financial practices and economic nationalism in
places like China, Japan and Latin America.
Though the shenanigans on Wall Street—ranging from high-speed traders stealing
from ordinary investors to the endless imagination of the casino gamblers at the
big banks—continue to threaten financial stability, the Federal Reserve and
other U.S. regulatory agencies are proving more diligent than during the Bush
This spring more robust household formation should push housing starts above 1
million this year for the first time since 2007. The burdens of student debt
require that many new dwellings be apartments, but surging residential
construction will boost sales of pickup trucks so ubiquitous on construction
sites, and employment in industries supporting housing and motor vehicles.
In February, unemployment was steady at 6.7%, and the percentage of adults
employed or seeking a job—the so-called participation rate—rose slightly but
remains well below pre-recession levels.
Factoring in adults on the sidelines who say they would seek employment if
conditions were better and part-timers desiring full-time work, the jobless rate
becomes 12.7% and that likely understates the scope of the problem. One in six
men between ages 25 and 54 are jobless, and many displaced spouses in formerly
two-earner families have become reconciled to permanent unemployment.
The economy needs to add about 340,000 jobs each month to push unemployment down
to an acceptable level but that would require GDP growth in the range of 4 to
5%. Instead, slow growth and jobs creation pins down wages and frustrates the
unemployed and new high school and college graduates.
Over the last four and one-half years, the pace of GDP growth has been a paltry
2.3%—about the same as during the Bush expansion. President Reagan inherited a
much tougher unemployment situation than Obama, yet he managed 4.8% growth and
created many more jobs.
The defining difference between the recent two disappointing economic recoveries
and the strong record of the 1980s has been the predisposition of presidents
from both parties to champion politically-expedient remedies—bailouts and
entitlements that steal money from promising R&D, public infrastructure and
private investment to bolster inefficient automakers and hospitals, abusive
banks and traders, and decadent universities and other non-profits.
In addition, the failure to properly craft and enforce trade agreements with
China, Japan and Germany, and to develop oil and gas off-shore and in Alaska has
imposed a $475 billion trade deficit and lowers growth by two percentage points
With a lighter but still effective touch to regulation, fewer entitlements that
discourage job seekers and employers alike and recognition that America must
play its strengths in a globalized economy, well meaning but ill-conceived
economic policies will continue to beat down growth and the hopes and dreams of
Jim O’Sullivan, chief
economist at High Frequency Economics commented:
"In short, a fairly healthy rise in payrolls, albeit with the help of a reversal
of weather effects. With the revisions, gains averaged 178,000 in Q1, not
significantly different from last year’s 194,000 per month average. Meanwhile,
the flat unemployment rate, helped by the rise in the participation rate, along
with the tame earnings data – albeit due to payback for February – and the rise
in involuntary part-time employment will reinforce the case of Fed officials
arguing that tightening is still a long way away."