April 8, 2019
The latest U.S. employment report points to continued economic growth and controlled inflation. The Labor Department’s jobs report showed employment increased by 196,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.8%, the thirteenth straight month it was at or below 4%. Employment growth averaged 180,000 per month in the first quarter of 2019, compared with 223,000 per month in 2018.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta says, “The March jobs report exceeded expectations with 196,000 new jobs created. Adding upward revisions of 14,000 jobs from the past two months, means that more than 5.1 million jobs have been created since January 2017.”
The job acceleration from a meager report in February seemed to soften fears of an economic slowdown, though moderate wage gains supported the Federal Reserve’s decision to shelve interest rate increases this year.
Notable job gains occurred in healthcare, which added 49,000 jobs in March and 398,000 over the past 12 months. Employment in professional and technical services grew by 34,000 in March and 311,000 over the past 12 months.
Employment in construction showed little change in March (+16,000) but has
increased by 246,000 over the past 12 months. Manufacturing employment changed little for the second month in a row, down 6,000 jobs in March, following more than 1,000 added in February. In the 12 months prior to February, manufacturing had added an average of 22,000 jobs per month.
The number of unemployed was essentially unchanged at 6.2 million. The labor force participation rate, at 63.0%, was little changed over the month, and has shown little movement on net over the past 12 months. The employment-population ratio was 60.6% in March, and has remained in a similar range since October 2018.
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