WASHINGTON, DC—The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the US economy added 192,000 jobs in March, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.7%. Details in the report offer evidence for both optimists and pessimists about the job market.
For the pessimists: the problem of long-term unemployment remains seemingly intractable. At 3.7 million, it changed little from February; these individuals accounted for 35.8% of the unemployed. Also March figures show that little has changed with the 2.2 million persons “marginally attached” to the labor force-that is people who want and are available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months but not in the four weeks preceding the survey.
For the optimists there are the upwardly revised figures from January and February that note that employers added a combined 37,000 more jobs than previously estimated. And there are signs that more people are searching for jobs and finding them. Also, by analyzing just the private sector job figures-government job creation remains flat-the labor market can be said to be back to its pre-recession peak.
Specifically for March, employment grew in professional and business services, in health care, and in construction. Professional and business services added 57,000 jobs in March, in line with its average monthly gain of 56,000 over the prior 12 months. Health care added 19,000 jobs, topping slightly the 17,000 per month that has been averaged for this sector over the last year.
Construction employment continued its upward climb in March with 19,000 new jobs. Over the past year, construction employment has risen by 151,000. Also, in the business and professional services category, architectural and engineering services added 5,000 jobs.