Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
Nonfarm payrolls increased by 216,000 in March. Since their recent low in February 2010, they have risen 1.5 million. January and February’s estimates were revised up slightly (up 7,000 in sum), with an upward revision to private payrolls of 44,000 more than offsetting a downward revision to government payrolls of 37,000. Government payrolls slipped again in March, falling 14,000 (their fifth consecutive decline). The decline hass been driven largely by local government employment losses. Private payrolls rose 230,000 in March and, perhaps breaking slightly with their recent past, saw relatively broad-based gains. Only three major industries experienced employment losses in March (construction, transportation and warehousing, and information), with a combined decrease of 4,100. Goods-producing payrolls increased by 31,000 during the month, as mining employment increased 15,000 and manufacturing payrolls increased 17,000 (and construction employment fell 1,000). Recent gains in manufacturing have largely reflected gains in durables payrolls, which have averaged an increase of 22,000 over the past six months, compared to 20,000 for all of manufacturing. Private services employment rose 199,000 in March, its largest increase since November 2006. Service-side gains were led by professional and business services, which increased by 78,000 (roughly 40 percent of the increase was due to temporary help services). Also within the category, accounting and bookkeeping payrolls had a relatively large jump up of 20,000, though this may be some seasonal noise, as the not-seasonally-adjusted employment change was −1,400. Other gains on the service side came from health care and social assistance (up 44,500), leisure and hospitality (up 37,000), and retail trade (up 17,700). On the household side of the report, the unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage point to 8.8 percent. It has fallen 1.0 percentage point in the last four months. The employment-to-population ratio also improved in March—rising 0.1 percentage point to 58.5 percent (its highest level since last September).