Job Growth Slows in March with 103,000 New Jobs

Record-Low Unemployment Continues

JOB GROWTH: The job market, which has been on fire since the beginning of the year, put the brakes on in March, dropping from job growth exceeding 300,000 last month to a little more than 100,000 jobs added in March. After revisions (with the numbers down in January and up in February), job gains have averaged 202,000 over the last 3 months.

TOP INDUSTRIES: The most significant job gains in March were seen in professional and business services, manufacturing, healthcare and mining.

UNEMPLOYMENT: For the past six months, the unemployment rate has remained steady at 4.1 percent—still the lowest level since 2000.

WAGES: Payrolls gained slightly in March, moving the average hourly earnings rate from 2.6 percent to 2.7 percent on an annual basis.

WORK WEEK: There was no change in the average work week in March, remaining at 34.5 hours.

TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS: Growth in the temporary jobs sector contracted in March, with a modest loss of 600 jobs, after a surge the previous month of 21,000 new jobs. Year-over-year growth in the sector continues trending positively at 3.8 percent.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? Job growth slowed in March after a very robust February. Although the number of new monthly jobs was down by about two-thirds, it still exceeded activity from a year ago. Some economists blame the March weather for less than anticipated job expansion. Others blame the plight of a deteriorating retail sector. Overall, however, when looking at the first quarter this year versus last, the economy is ahead. Slow and steady may continue to be the best way to describe economic expansion, at least in the first few months of 2018. Candidates are entering the workforce, and companies are hiring, albeit with continuing challenges to find the right talent and make the best fit.

This newsletter references the BLS Report of March activity, released 4/6/18. 

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Steinberg Employment Research, MSNBC, Staffing Industry Analysts, Business Insider, FOX Business, The New York Times, Bloomberg, CNN/Money