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US employers added just 236,000 jobs in March, coming in below expectations and signaling a warming labor market amid the annual rate-hiking campaign to cool inflation.
The turnover rate dropped to 3.5%, according to jobs in March to announce released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Economists were expecting a net gain of 239,000 jobs for the month and a contraction rate of 3.6%, according to Refinitiv. This is the first jobs report in 12 months that came in below expectations.
While the US trucking labor market has kept up with other areas of the economy slowing under the weight of user hikes, it is showing some signs of cooling.
“In March, the labor market was like a lion with the banking crisis and several layoffs, and it’s coming out like a lamb with solid business,” said Daniel Zhao, Glassdoor’s lead economist, in a statement. “The work force is still strong, but it is slowly slipping to Earth.”
Over the past 12 months, the labor market has seen a net gain of more than 4.1 million jobs, an average of 345,417 jobs gained per month, helping the unemployment rate fall to decade-low levels.
March’s table is a notable reduction from February’s over 326,000 revised jobs gain and January’s monster number of jobs — first 517,000 but later revised up to 472,000.
The 236,000 jobs added in March is the smallest monthly gain since December 2020. Excluding the losses seen in the first year of the pandemic, it is the smallest monthly job gain since December 2019.
However, the job market remains above pre-pandemic norms: between 2010 and 2019, the economy added an average of 180,000 jobs per month.
President Joe Biden called the Labor March to herald “good jobs for hard-working Americans,” in a statement released early Friday.
Industries such as leisure and hospitality, health care and government will continue to lead continued job gains. Industries reporting monthly losses included retail trade, temporary assistance, manufacturing, construction and information services.
“Industries that have been facing acute labor shortages, especially hospitality, are really making gains in getting the jobs they need,” Jim McCoy, senior vice president at ManpowerGroup, told CNN. “We’ve seen some moderation in a few other sectors like government, like health care and then generally a lot of stability across most of the other sectors. You have a few drops — 15,000 retail drops — but in the grand scheme of things I don’t consider it a drastic drop at all; it’s just a normal wobble within the economy. month.”
Employment in leisure and hospitality has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels. Through March, the industry lost about 368,000 jobs, or nearly 2.2% shy of February 2020 employment levels, an analysis of BLS data shows.
Labor market data released earlier in the week reported more moderate jobs.
Job openings came in at 9.93 million (the first total below 10 million in nearly 10 years); ADP private-sector payrolls came in at 145,000 for March, coming in below expectations of 200,000; Rivals reports that the service saw an uptick with 89,703 games reported in March, up from a 15% gain in February; and the continuing jobless claims 1.823 million, a balance not seen after December 2021.
For many months, weekly jobless claims data have continued to paint a picture of an incredibly tight job market that shows little impact from waves of structural mass announcements from technology and beyond firms.
But Thursday release from the Department of Labor included a series of significant amendments and temporary accommodations to better reflect the dynamics of the labor market since the pandemic.
Newly revised data shows a “clear upward trajectory” in initial requests since the beginning of February, with the four-week average rising to 240,000 from 200,000, noted Dante DeAntonio, Moody’s director of analytics.
“The new way is recognized” [jobless] It is more consistent with the increase in job cuts announced in recent months and also with the slowdown in wage growth,” he said in a note.[Unemployment insurance] The requested data will continue to provide an early signal as to whether the labor market is likely to cool in the coming months.”
Some of the main indicators for March jobs report that they are moving in a direction that would show the arrival of further cooling: The average work week up to 34.4 from 34.5 hours, indicating that employers may start to cut hours; temporary employment occurs; and construction lost jobs for the first time since January 2012.
I wouldn’t necessarily call it a bell moment, but there are brokers [and indicators] “Manpower,” MeCoy said, “Manpower, noting that one month does not trend and remains strong in family finances.”
Still, the labor market continues to show resilience, said Amy Glaser, senior vice president of Adecco, a human resources and staffing firm.
“Really, it’s more of a rebalancing from a hot post-pandemic market,” he said. “We’ve heard a lot from the laymen, but there were still so many unfulfilled jobs in the tech sector that what we’re seeing is not a lot of folks who have dislocated or lost their tech in the last few months, very quickly. to find new opportunities”.
Since March, the median vacation period has been 8.1 weeks, up from 8.3 weeks in February, according to the BLS.
H wants to see more slack in the labor market: As the economy recovers from the pandemic, demand for workers has far outstripped supply, contributing to higher wages and inflationary pressures.
Contributing to the lower-than-expected labor force and participation rate have been slow to match projections or meet pre-pandemic levels.
Over the past two and a half years, much ink has been spilled on the question of why workers are “missing” when recent research zeroing in on Covid-19 link, reduced immigration; an aging population and chronic covid as the primary culprits.
Workers must now enter the labor market.
In February, the labor force participation of paid workers between the ages of 25 and 54 hit 83.2%, surpassing pre-pandemic levels. Last month, the overall labor participation rate continued its upward trend in March, increasing to 62.6% and matching the pandemic-era high. But that is still below the February 2019 rate of 63.3%.
Even though labor force participation increased, the unemployment rate contracted by 0.1 percentage points to 3.5%. This in practice must be attributed to Eugene Aleman, Raymundo Iacobi, chief financial officer.
Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% from the previous month, a slight uptick from the 0.2% seen in February. On an annual basis, earnings moderated to 4.2% from 4.6% a month earlier.
“Labor remains soft and is a pillar of strength,” said Glassdoor’s Zhao. “H” seeks balance from the labor market, and the report of the current level is to the right.
This is the last BLS jobs report to be released before the central bank’s policy meeting next May on May 2-3 (the April jobs report falls on May 5).
As of Friday, markets are still waiting for the largest part of H to raise rates by another quarter, according to the theme. CME FedWatch Death Principle.
-CN Nikki Carvajal contributed to this report.