Friday, April 03, 2015

March Employment Report: 126,000 Jobs, 5.5% Unemployment Rate

by Bill McBride on 4/03/2015 08:43:00 AM

From the BLS:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 126,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade, while mining lost jobs.
...
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from +239,000 to +201,000, and the change for February was revised from +295,000 to +264,000. With these revisions, employment gains in January and February combined were 69,000 less than previously reported.
emphasis added
Payroll jobs added per monthClick on graph for larger image.

The first graph shows the monthly change in payroll jobs, ex-Census (meaning the impact of the decennial Census temporary hires and layoffs is removed - mostly in 2010 - to show the underlying payroll changes).

Total payrolls increased by 126 thousand in March (private payrolls increased 129 thousand).

Payrolls for January and February were revised down by a combined 69 thousand.

Year-over-year change employmentThis graph shows the year-over-year change in total non-farm employment since 1968.

In March, the year-over-year change was 3.1 million jobs.

Even with the weakness in March, this is a solid year-over-year gain.


Employment Pop Ratio, participation and unemployment ratesThe third graph shows the employment population ratio and the participation rate.

The Labor Force Participation Rate decreased in March to 62.7%. This is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force.   A large portion of the recent decline in the participation rate is due to demographics.

The Employment-Population ratio was unchanged at 59.3% (black line).

I'll post the 25 to 54 age group employment-population ratio graph later.

unemployment rateThe fourth graph shows the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at March to 5.5%.

This was well below expectations of 247,000, and there were downward revisions to January and February ... a disappointing report.

I'll have much more later ...