Sunday, April 8, 2012

March Unemployment Report: Only 150,000 new jobs; National rate steady at 8.2%

March unemployment review

On April 6, 2012 the Labor department released it's March unemployment report. The report contained a small surprise: the US economy created only 150,000 jobs in March. Analysts had expected more than 200,000 new jobs. There is a consensus among economists that 150,000 jobs are need to stay even with population growth. The stock market indexes opened lower but then recovered to the same level by the end of the day.

It is important to note that the actual number of Non Farm Payroll jobs can vary by as much as 100,000 jobs, up or down, so the economy created between 50,000 and 250,000 jobs. We will probably see an upward revision in the following two months.

Almost every other unemployment indicator was the same or moving in a lower direction as compared to the previous month. Black unemployment, was unchanged at 14.0% reported however black employment totals increased by 74,000 workers.

The labor force participation rate was nearly unchanged at 63.8%. The national rate stayed at 8.2% the same as last month. U-6, the under employment rate dropped to 14.5 from 14.9% because of increase employment and decreases in discouraged and marginally attached workers. Discouraged workers dropped -141K and marginal workers: -256K.

There are also two other hopeful signs in the data on reasons for unemployment. The number job losers was down and both job leavers and new entrants were up as a percentage of the unemployed.

The black rate unemployment rate was 14.0%, the white rate was 7.3% and the Hispanic rate was 10.7%. The black teenage unemployment was reported at 40%.

The long-term unemployed dropped 100,000 people to 5.3 million people which represents 42.5% of the unemployed. The long-term unemployed is starting to slowly drop, a great sign for the economy.

Establishment Data / Non Farm Payroll

Private sector hiring added 121,000 jobs and government employment dropped only -1K. Hopefully we are seeing an end to government layoffs. Job growth came from manufacturing, business services, health care and eating and drinking places. Losers were retail trade -34K(department stores -21,000 jobs), construction and movies and music. Government employment was down -1K.

Non-farm payrolls were revised in January downward by -9K (from 282,000 to 275,000) and in February upward by +13,000(from 227K to 240K).

Average work week was unchanged at 33.8 hours and wages added 5 cents in March.

ADP reported an increase in payrolls of 209,000 positions. ADP uses actual payroll records and is more accurate than the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Monster Employment Index stayed at 143 in March, but was up 5% compared to last year.

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