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  • Writer's pictureNick Andriacchi

March Jobs Sizzle

But there are a few devils in the details.

·       Nonfarm payrolls increased 303,000 for the month, well above the Dow Jones estimate for a rise of 200,000.

·       The unemployment rate edged lower to 3.8%, as expected, even though the labor force participation rate moved higher to 62.7%.

·       Wages rose 0.3% for the month and 4.1% from a year ago, both in line with Wall Street estimates.

·       Health care led with 72,000 new jobs, followed by government (71,000), leisure and hospitality (49,000), and construction (39,000).

March brings an overall robust jobs report.  Job gains blew away expectations, wages rose moderately, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.8%. 

As we delve a little deeper, there are some signs that the reality of the talent market may be a little different.    For example, temporary employment has declined sharply over the last couple of years.

The household survey, which is used to calculate the unemployment rate, posted an even more robust gain in March, up 498,000, more than absorbing the 469,000 increase in the civilian labor force level.

But gains tilted heavily to part-time workers in the household survey. Full-time workers fell by 6,000, while part-timers increased by 691,000. Multiple job holders rose by 217,000, to 5.2% of the total employment level which may explain why the U6 number held steady.

For a deeper dive….

·       A more encompassing measure of unemployment (U6) that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons remains the same at 7.3%.


·       Prime age labor force participation rate (ages 25-54) was up .1% to 83.4%.  


·       The overall labor force participation was up 62.7%.   This is still .5% below the level of February 2020.


·       In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 12 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $34.69. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.1 percent. In March, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees edged up by 7 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $29.79.


·       In March, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1hour to 34.4 hours. In manufacturing, the average workweek was unchanged at 40.0 hours, and overtime edged down by 0.1 hour to 2.9 hours in March. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged up by 0.1 hour to 33.9 hours.


·       APD is reported that 184,000 jobs were added last month.  This is the biggest jump since last July but still a big disparity with the BLS number.


Source: ADP, BLS, CNBC, Fox News





The number of job openings changed little at 8.8 million on the last business day of February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the month, the number of hires and total separations were little changed at 5.8 million and 5.6 million, respectively. Within separations, quits (3.5 million) and layoffs and discharges (1.7 million) changed little. This release includes estimates of the number and rate of job openings, hires, and separations for the total nonfarm sector, by industry, and by establishment size class.


Job Openings


On the last business day of February, the number of job openings changed little at 8.8 million; this measure is down from a series high of 12.2 million in March 2022. The rate was 5.3 percent for the third month in a row. In February, job openings increased in finance and insurance (+126,000); state and local government, excluding education (+91,000); and arts, entertainment, and recreation (+51,000). Job openings decreased in information (-85,000) and in federal government (-21,000).




In February, the number and rate of hires were little changed at 5.8 million and 3.7 percent, respectively. Hires decreased in durable goods manufacturing (-44,000).




Total separations include quits, layoffs and discharges, and other separations. Quits are generally voluntary separations initiated by the employee. Therefore, the quits rate can serve as a measure of workers’ willingness or ability to leave jobs. Layoffs and discharges are involuntary separations initiated by the employer. Other separations include separations due to retirement, death, disability, and transfersto other locations of the same firm.


The number of total separations in February changed little at 5.6 million. The rate was unchanged at 3.5 percent. Over the month, the number of total separations increased in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+64,000) but decreased in transportation, warehousing, and utilities (-62,000).


In February, the number of quits was little changed at 3.5 million, and the rate was 2.2 percent for the fourth consecutive month.


In February, the number and rate of layoffs and discharges changed little at 1.7 million and 1.1 percent, respectively. The number of layoffs and discharges increased in accommodation and food services (+67,000) and in arts, entertainment, and recreation (+57,000).


The number of other separations was little changed in February at 351,000.


Establishment Size Class


In February, establishments with 1 to 9 employees and establishments with 5,000 or more employees saw little change in their job openings rate, hires rate, and total separations rate.


January 2024 Revisions


The number of job openings for January was revised down by 115,000 to 8.7 million, the number of hires was revised up by 11,000 to 5.7 million, and the number of total separations was revised up by 108,000 to 5.4 million. Within separations, the number of quits was revised up by 61,000 to 3.4 million and the number of layoffs and discharges was revised up by 24,000 to 1.6 million. (Monthly revisions result from additional reports received from businesses and government agencies since the last published estimates and from the recalculation of seasonal factors.)


The Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey estimates for March 2024 are scheduled to be released on Wednesday, May 1, 2024, at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

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