US Economy Added 431,000 Jobs in March, Unemployment Rate Dropped to 3.6 Percent

jobs report

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 431,000 in March, while the unemployment rate decreased from 3.8 percent in February to 3.6 percent last month, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Dow Jones economists predicted approximately 490,000 jobs with a 3.7 percent unemployment rate, according to CNBC. Total employment remains down by 1.6 million from what it was in February 2020, or 1 percent.

The BLS also reports that the average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 13 cents to $31.73 last month. This figure was much higher than what it rose to in February, which only saw an increase of 1 cent in February over the prior month. Over the past 12 months, the average hourly earnings have grown by 5.6 percent. Wages are still being outstripped by inflation as the BLS found that the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 7.9 percent in February compared to February 2021.

As it was in previous months, the biggest job growth was led by gains in leisure and hospitality (+112,000), including growth in food services and drinking places (+61,000). However, since its pre-pandemic level in February 2020, employment in the sector is still down by 1.5 million workers, or 8.7 percent.

Other notable gains were in professional and business services (+102,000), in services to buildings and dwellings (+22,000), accounting and bookkeeping services (+18,000), management and technical consulting services (+15,000) and computer systems design and related services (+12,000). Employment in professional and business services overall is 723,000 higher than it was in February 2020.

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