Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 215,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 5.0 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Employment increased in retail trade, construction, and healthcare. Job losses occurred in manufacturing and mining.
In March, the unemployment rate (5.0 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (8.0 million) were little changed. Both measures have shown little movement since August.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.5 percent), adult women (4.6 percent), teenagers (15.9 percent), Whites (4.3 percent), Blacks (9.0 percent), Asians (4.0 percent), and Hispanics (5.6 percent) showed little or no change in March.
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 2.2 million in March and has shown little movement since June. In March, these individuals accounted for 27.6 percent of the unemployed.
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (also referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was about unchanged in March at 6.1 million and has shown little movement since November. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part-time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
In March, 1.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 335,000 from a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.
Among the marginally attached, there were 585,000 discouraged workers in March, down by 153,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in March had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.
Construction employment grows
Construction employment rose by 37,000 in March. Job gains occurred among residential specialty trade contractors (+12,000) and in heavy and civil engineering construction (+11,000). Over the year, construction has added 301,000 jobs.
Employment in health care increased by 37,000 over the month, about in line with the average monthly gain over the prior 12 months. In March, employment rose in ambulatory health care services (+27,000) and hospitals (+10,000). Over the year, health care employment has increased by 503,000.
Manufacturing jobs decline
Employment in manufacturing declined by 29,000 in March. Most of the job losses occurred in durable goods industries (-24,000), including machinery (-7,000), primary metals (-3,000), and semiconductors and electronic components (-3,000).
Mining employment continued to decline in March (-12,000) with losses concentrated in support activities for mining (-10,000). Since reaching a peak in September 2014, employment in mining has decreased by 185,000.
Employment in other major industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, changed little over the month.
Wages creep up
In March, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 7 cents to $25.43, following a 2-cent decline in February. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.3 percent. In March, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to $21.37.