Friday, April 07, 2017

March Employment Report: 98,000 Jobs, 4.5% Unemployment Rate

by Bill McBride on 4/07/2017 08:43:00 AM

From the BLS:

The unemployment rate declined to 4.5 percent in March, and total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 98,000, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services and in mining, while retail trade lost jobs.
...
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised down from +238,000 to +216,000, and the change for February was revised down from +235,000 to +219,000. With these revisions, employment gains in January and February combined were 38,000 less than previously reported.
...
In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 5 cents to $26.14, following a 7-cent increase in February. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 68 cents, or 2.7 percent.
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 98 thousand in March (private payrolls increased 89 thousand).

Payrolls for January and February were revised down by a combined 38 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 2.13 million jobs.  This is a decent year-over-year gain.


The third graph shows the employment population ratio and the participation rate.

Employment Pop Ratio, participation and unemployment rates The Labor Force Participation Rate was unchanged in March at 63.0%. 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 increased to 60.1% (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 decreased in February to 4.5%.

This was well below expectations of 178,000 jobs, and the previous two months were revised down. 

I'll have much more later ...