Tepid 98,000 Net New Jobs Created in March 2017, Unemployment Falls to 4.5 Percent, Lowest in Almost 10 Years

A tepid 98,000 net new jobs were added in March 2017, far short of the 185,000 consensus from economists polled by MarketWatch. The unemployment rate fell from 5.0 percent a year ago to 4.7 percent in February 2017 and 4.5 percent as of March 2017. The 4.5 percent unemployment level is the lowest seen since May 2007.

The average hourly wage rose to $26.14, a 2.7 percent increase in the past year.

January and February 2017 growth numbers were also restated downwards. January dropped from 238,000 net new jobs to 216,000 and February was cut by 38,000.

The following chart shows the total number of net new jobs created in the prior 12 months since 2011. Note the continuing downward trend since the February 2015 high.

4-7-17 table1


That said, the U.S. has more total jobs today than any time in history as shown in the following chart.

4-7-17 table2


Other items in the March 2017 jobs report:

  • The Number of Persons Unemployed for Less Than 5 Weeks declined by 232,000 to 2.334 million in March and is down from 2.42 million a year ago
  • Long-Term Unemployed (jobless for 27 or more weeks), made up slightly less than one-in-four of the unemployed (23.4 percent) and fell by 526,000 year-over-year
  • Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate is now 63.0 percent, unchanged from a year ago
  • Employment-Population Ratio is now 60.1 percent versus 59.9 percent a year ago
  • Number of Persons Employed Part Time for Economic Reasons (also known as involuntary part-time workers) are individuals desiring full-time employment but either had their hours cut back or cannot find a full-time job), now totals 5.553 million, down from 6.12 million a year ago
  • Marginally Attached to the Labor Force (not currently counted in the labor force, want and are available for work and had looked for a job in the prior 12 months) dropped by 125,000 in the past year to 1.595 million. Within that group, 460,000 were classified as Discouraged Workers – persons not currently looking for work because they believe there are no jobs available for them. Discouraged Workers fell by 125,000 in the past 12 months
  • Construction remained essentially unchanged
  • Business and Professional Services was up 56,000 in March vs February
  • Private and Educational Services added 16,000 jobs in March
  • Financial Activities added 9,000 jobs in March is up 178,000 in the past 12 months
  • Manufacturing employment grew by 11,000 in March and 26,000 in February
  • Health Care added 16,700 jobs in March 2017, 36,900 in February and 25,300 in January
  • Mining (includes oil and gas exploration and production) added 11,000 in the month and 27,000 in the first quarter
  • Retail Trade dropped 29,700 jobs in March following a 30,900 decline in February
  • Leisure and Hospitality jobs increased by just 9,000 in March and is up 55,000 in the first three months

To read the entire release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics click https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf


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