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.
Household Survey Data
In March, the unemployment rate held at 5.5 percent, and the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 8.6 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.1 percentage points and 1.8 million,respectively. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (5.1 percent), adult women (4.9 percent), teenagers (17.5 percent), whites (4.7 percent), blacks (10.1 percent), Asians (3.2 percent), and Hispanics (6.8 percent) showed little or no change in March. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
Among the unemployed, the number of new entrants decreased by 157,000 in March and is down by 342,000 over the year. Unemployed new entrants are those who never previously worked. (See table A-11.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.6 million in March. These individuals accounted for 29.8 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 1.1 million. (See table A-12.)
The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed at 62.7 percent in March. Since April 2014, the participation rate has remained within a narrow range of 62.7 percent to 62.9 percent. In March, the employment-population ratio was 59.3 percent for the third consecutive month. (See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in March at 6.7 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)
In March, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little changed from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 738,000 discouraged workers in March, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.3 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased in March (+126,000). Over the prior 12 months, employment growth had averaged 269,000 per month. In March, employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade, while employment in mining declined. (See table B-1.)
Employment in professional and business services trended up in March (+40,000). Job growth in the first quarter of 2015 averaged 34,000 per month in this industry, below the average monthly gain of 59,000 in 2014. Within professional and business services, employment continued to trend up in architectural and engineering services (+4,000), computer systems design and related services (+4,000), and management and technical consulting services (+4,000).
Health care continued to add jobs in March (+22,000). Over the year, health care has added 363,000 jobs. In March, job gains occurred in ambulatory health care services (+19,000) and hospitals (+8,000), while nursing care facilities lost jobs (-6,000).
In March, employment in retail trade continued to trend up (+26,000), in line with its prior 12-month average gain. Within retail trade, general merchandise stores added 11,000 jobs in March.
Employment in mining declined by 11,000 in March. The industry has lost 30,000 jobs thus far in 2015, after adding 41,000 jobs in 2014. The employment declines in the first quarter of 2015, as well as the gains in 2014, were concentrated in support activities for mining, which includes support for oil and gas extraction.
Employment in food services and drinking places changed little in March (+9,000), following a large increase in the prior month (+66,000). Job growth in the first quarter of 2015 averaged 33,000 per month, the same as the average monthly gain in 2014.
Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, financial activities, and government, showed little change over the month.
In March, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls declined by 0.1 hour to 34.5 hours. The manufacturing workweek decreased by 0.1 hour to 40.9 hours, and factory overtime remained at 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 0.1 hour to 33.7 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $24.86. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees rose by 4 cents to $20.86 in March. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
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. Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 197,000 per month.
The Employment Situation for April is scheduled to be released on Friday, May 8, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EDT).