Unemployment Rate Drops Further to 3.6%
Although fewer jobs were created in March than in February (431,000 vs. an upwardly revised 750,000), forward momentum continues the positive trend sustained over 12 months now. On average, more than half a million jobs were created every month in the first quarter of 2022, on a par with monthly gains throughout 2021.
Following recent trends, the most significant jobs creation activity was seen in the leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, and retail trade sectors. The manufacturing sector also experienced noteworthy growth in March.
The unemployment rate continued to move closer to its pre-pandemic level of 3.5%, reaching 3.6% in March.
Pay rates ticked up in March, with the 12-month average monthly wage increase reaching 5.6%.
The average work week in March dipped slightly to 34.6 hours.
TEMPORARY JOB TRENDS:
After a record-breaking February gain of 35,500 jobs, activity in the temporary help sector slowed to 4,900 new jobs in March.
WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
The job market continues to expand, with more Americans returning to the workforce, including prime-age women (25 -54), whose numbers have swelled to a level not seen since February 2020. New job creation remains strong as we move closer toward pre-pandemic conditions. What has changed in the interim? There are still more than 11 million unfilled jobs, despite the best efforts of employers to meet new demands from the workforce for greater balance, higher pay, and more satisfying roles. Compensation increases are being met with rising inflation, making it difficult for workers to feel satisfied.
Beyond concerns about the economy, the ongoing pandemic, supply chain disruptions, and the war in Ukraine are tempering optimism about the future. With continuing and sustained challenges to recruit and retain talent, the employment market is experiencing a surge of innovation by employers introducing new technology and new approaches to engage the talent critical to growth. These are all positive moves that will benefit the labor market well into the future.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Staffing Industry Analysts, American Staffing Association, CNBC, Bloomberg, Glassdoor Economic Research, USA Today, CNN