U.S.: Employment Situation

April 6, 2018

Unemployment rate remains flat at 4.1percent even as total nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 103,000 in March. Sectors that experience a marginal uptick in employment for the month of March were manufacturing, health care, and mining.

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (3.7 percent), adult women (3.7 percent), teenagers (13.5 percent), Whites (3.6 percent), Blacks (6.9 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (5.1 percent) showed little or no change in March, according to a report posted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Accordingly, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed in March and accounted for 20.3 percent of the unemployed.”

There were little change for all the indicators of employment rate. Labor force participation rate, the number of persons employed part time and persons who were marginally attached to the labor force all recorded little or no change. Additionally, in March, the labor force participation rate was at 62.9%, while 5.0 million laborers remain  part time workers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been reduced or because they were unable to find full-time jobs.

Persons categorised as marginally attached are individuals who were not in the labor force, who wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. The number of  marginally attached individuals to the labor force was 1.5 million as at march 2018. Among the marginally attached, there were 450,000 discouraged workers, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.0 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. 

Employment by Sectors

In March, employment in manufacturing added 22,000 jobs, with all of the gain in the durable goods component. Employment in fabricated metal products increased over the month by 9,000. Over the year, manufacturing added 232,000 jobs. Similarly,  health care added 22,000 jobs for the month of March. Employment continued to trend upwards over the month in ambulatory health care services (+16,000) and hospitals (+10,000).  Employment in mining increased by 9,000 in March, with gains occurring in support activities for mining (+6,000) and in oil and gas extraction (+2,000). Mining employment has risen by 78,000 since a recent low in October 2016.

Retail trade employment trended down little in March by 4,000, after increasing by 47,000 in February. In March, employment declined by 13,000 in general merchandise stores, offsetting a gain of the same size in February. Over the past twelve months, employment in retail trade has shown little net change, while employment in construction also changed little (-15,000), following a large gain in February (+65,000).

Employment changed little over the month in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, leisure and hospitality, and government.


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