Keeping you up to date on the latest data releases.
In March, the unemployment rate ticked down to 7.6 percent, and nonfarm payrolls increased by 88,000—both of which fell short of consensus forecasts. On the household side of the report, the labor force participation rate fell 0.2 percent to 63.3 percent, which is the lowest level in over three decades. Meanwhile, the employment-to-population ratio, at 58.5 percent, posted a modest decline of 0.1 percent. The total number of persons employed fell by roughly 200,000 or 0.14 percent for the month, but remains up 0.89 percent since last March.
As for the establishment side of the report, positive revisions to January and February figures have added a total of 61,000 jobs to previous estimates. Over the past 12 months employment growth has averaged monthly gains of 159,000. Professional and business services as well as healthcare and education continued to post strong gains in line with annual and monthly trends. Construction posted an increase of 18,000 jobs, which were split evenly between residential and nonresidential. Manufacturing employment fell by 3,000. However, the sharpest declines were seen within the retail trade sector, which lost a total of 24,000 jobs after having averaged a gain of 32,000 jobs over the past six months. Government employment continues to trend downward, with postal services leading with declines of 12,000, while other areas were little changed.
The average workweek for all employees increased 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours, which is the highest since last February. The manufacturing workweek fell 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and factory overtime rose by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. Average hourly earnings rose 1 cent to $23.82, and over the past year hourly earnings have increased 42 cents or 1.8 percent.