Friday, April 03, 2020

March Employment Report: 701,000 Jobs Lost (718,000 Lost ex-Census), 4.4% Unemployment Rate

by Calculated Risk on 4/03/2020 08:44:00 AM

From the BLS:

Total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 701,000 in March, and the unemployment rate rose to 4.4 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The changes in these measures reflect the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and efforts to contain it. Employment in leisure and hospitality fell by 459,000, mainly in food services and drinking places. Notable declines also occurred in health care and social assistance, professional and business services, retail trade, and construction.
...
Federal government employment rose by 18,000 in March, reflecting the hiring of 17,000 workers for the 2020 Census.
...
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised down by 59,000 from +273,000 to +214,000, and the change for February was revised up by 2,000 from +273,000 to +275,000. With these revisions, employment gains in January and February combined were 57,000 lower than previously reported.
...
In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 11 cents to $28.62. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 3.1 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 decreased by 718 thousand in March ex-Census (private payrolls decreased 713 thousand).

Payrolls for January and February were revised down 57 thousand combined.

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 1.504 million jobs.

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 decreased to 62.7% in March. 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 and long term trends.

The Employment-Population ratio decreased to 60.0% (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 increased in March to 4.4%.

This was well below consensus expectations of 100,000 jobs lost, and January and February were revised down by 57,000 combined.

This was a horrible employment report, and the report for April will be much worse. I'll have much more later ...