Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 in March, and the unemployment rate held at 9.7%, based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys. Hiring for the census added 48,000 jobs in March, a large temporary increase, but less than expected amount, for the month. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from -26,000 to +14,000, and the change for February was revised from -36,000 to -14,000 together this results in an addition of 90,000 jobs.
The 162,000 added jobs is the largest increase since March of 2007. It is a good start but the economy will have to continue to increase the number of job added each month to reduce unemployment. Population growth requires an addition of approximately 125,000 jobs a month. The current labor pool has been temporarily reduced by those who have dropped out of the labor market. As jobs return they will come back into the market.
The economy has lost 8.2 million jobs since the recession started in December 2007. Now that was the bubble induced peak still, by the time the economy adds 8 million jobs many more jobs will be needed (since 125,000 additional jobs are needed each month). Still if we added 200,000 a month it would take 40 months to get back to the previous peak total. And by that time the economy would have accumulated another 9 million jobs needed (it would be about Dec 2013 = 6 * 12 months *125,000/month). While the bubble induced peak may well be a unrealistic target, the job market needs to add over 200,000 jobs a month to regain ground lost over the last several years.
In March, the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 15.0 million, and the unemployment rate remained at 9.7%. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) increased by 414,000 over the month to 6.5 million. In March, 44.1% of unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more. Both are all time highs.
The civilian labor force participation rate (64.9%) and the employment-population ratio (58.6%) continued to edge up in March. The average length of unemployment rose to 31 weeks – the highest average ever (since 1948).
Related: USA Unemployment Rate Remains at 9.7% – 663,000 Jobs Lost in March, 2009 in the USA – Another 450,000 Jobs Lost in June, 2009 – Manufacturing Employment Data – 1979 to 2007
Temporary help services added 40,000 jobs in March. Since September 2009, temporary help services employment has risen by 313,000. Employment in health care continued to increase in March (+27,000), with the largest gains occurring in ambulatory health care services (16,000) and in nursing and residential care facilities (9,000).
Manufacturing employment continued to trend up in March (+17,000); the industry has added 45,000 jobs in the first 3 months of 2010. Over the month, job gains were concentrated in fabricated metal products (+9,000) and in machinery (+6,000).
The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls was up by 0.1 hour to 34.0 hours in March. The manufacturing workweek for all employees increased by 0.2 hour to 39.9 hours, and factory overtime was up by 0.1 hour over the month. In March, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.2 hour to 33.3 hours.
In March, average hourly earnings of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls fell by 2 cents, or 0.1%, to $22.47, following a 4-cent gain in February. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8%. In March, average hourly earnings of private production and nonsupervisory employees fell by 2 cents, or 0.1 percent, to $18.90.