March BLS Jobs Report Shows Economy Added 192,000 Jobs

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Source: BLS

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its March 2014 unemployment report, which shows an overall gain of 192,000 jobs and the unemployment rate holding at 6.7%. This data shows that employers are ramping up their hiring and that the winter slowdown was only temporary. In addition, revisions to prior months showed that January added 144,000 jobs (up from 129,000), and February grew 197,000 jobs (from 175,000). With these revisions, gains in employment for those two months were actually 37,000 higher than previously reported, and job growth has averaged 183,000 new jobs per month over the last 12 months.

A number of sectors showed impressive growth in March, including healthcare (+19,000), construction (+19,000), and foodservices (+30,000). The professional and business services sector had the largest gain of the month (+57,000), with numerous sub-sectors showing positive gains, including architecture and engineering (+5,000), IT consulting and design (+9,600) and temporary services (+29,000).

One interesting note is that all March net U.S. job growth took place in the private sector. This growth has now exceeded the employment levels of December 2007 — which is when the last recession began.

But while the private sector has recouped 8.9 million jobs since February 2010, government jobs have not recovered since the recession began. Unfortunately, this has resulted in total nonfarm employment being 422,000 jobs below its December 2007 level.

With this strong March report and revisions having added 37,000 jobs to prior figures, is it possible that we are primed for a surge in job growth for the Spring and Summer months?

It’s tough to say.

While economists agree that this data is encouraging, most believe that the steady pace we’re seeing is a more likely scenario for a rate of recovery. But the fact that the private sector has reached its pre-recession peak is a big step. The next step would be getting the unemployment rate into the 5% levels and the long-term unemployed back into the U.S. workforce.

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