The March Jobs Report in 14 Charts
By Nick Timiraos and Josh Zumbrun
U.S. employers added 215,000 jobs in March, but the unemployment rate ticked up to 5% as more Americans looked for work. Here’s a look at the guts of the monthly employment report.
The share of Americans working, or looking for work, rose to 63%, the highest since early 2014. The number of Americans with jobs rose to the highest level since early 2009.
Labor-force participation among workers ages 25 to 54, the years Americans are mostly likely to be working, also climbed this month, though it remains lower than prior to the recession.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 5% as a result of the increase in the labor force. The broadest gauge of unemployment and underemployment rose to 9.8% in March from 9.7% in February. One year ago, the unemployment rate stood at 5.5%, and the broader gauge of underemployment stood at 10.9%.
Unemployment rates rose slightly for college graduates, high-school graduates and high-school dropouts this month, following the slight increase nationally.
Unemployment rates also climbed slightly for black and Hispanic men and women this month. The rate was unchanged for white men and women. The trend in recent years, however, has been steadily downward for all major demographic groups.
Average hourly earnings are up around 2.3% from a year earlier. Average weekly earnings stumbled in February as employers cut back on hours. March saw some bounce back on that front, and average weekly earnings are up around 2% over the past year.
The share of workers unemployed due to a permanent layoff climbed slightly last month, rising to 36.7% from 35.7%. But over the course of the recovery, fewer of the unemployed have lost their previous jobs.
The share of the unemployed who’ve been without work for six months or longer had been steadily declining until the middle of last year. It hasn’t made much progress since then.
For the past three months, spells of unemployment have been lasting slightly longer. The median unemployed worker has been without work for 11.4 weeks right now, up from 10.5 weeks in December.
The share of Americans who weren’t in the labor force and who found a job in March ran to the highest level since September 2008.
Meanwhile, the share of Americans who don’t have a job and are quitting the workforce altogether has fallen back to where it was when the last recession began.
Around 10 million more people are working full-time jobs (or are working at least 35 hours a week) compared with when the current economic expansion cycle began in the middle of 2009. The number of people working part-time has been essentially flat over that span.
Since the end of 2007, when the last recession began, the economy has recovered all of the full-time positions that employers shed. The net change in full-time hiring is closer to the net change in part-time hiring of around three million new Jobs.