U.S. Employment Situation – March 2013

Ugly employment data.   Retail hit hard hard losing 24K compared to a gain of 24K last month.  Relatively large net losses at building/materials and clothing stores.  Construction generated 18K net jobs compared to 48K last month.  Job creation in the information industry was lower than last month’s 20K, which was pumped up by the motion picture industry,  falling to 5K in March.   Government lost 7K,  including 12K U.S. postal service jobs.

The other big headline is the civilian labor force declined by 496,000 over the month.  The debate rages why this is happening.  Demographics as the baby boomers age?  Depressed workers giving up?  Increased government incentives to stay out labor force as more workers move to disability?   Aging workforce prone to injury and disability benefits?  Probably all of the above.

Here are money quotes from this morning’s BLS release:

Nonfarm payroll employment edged up in March (+88,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment grew in professional and business services and in health care but declined in retail trade…

The civilian labor force declined by 496,000 over the month, and the  labor force participation rate decreased by 0.2 percentage point to 63.3 percent. The  employment-population ratio, at 58.5 percent, changed little…

The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls increased by 0.1 hour to 34.6  hours. The manufacturing workweek decreased by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and factory overtime rose by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.8 hours.

In March,  average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls, at $23.82, changed  little (+1 cent). Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by  42 cents, or 1.8 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees, at $20.03, changed little (-1 cent) in March.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for January was revised from +119,000 to +148,000,  and the change for February was revised from +236,000 to +268,000.

Apr5_BLS3Apr5_BLS_1Apr5_BLS_2

(click here if charts are not observable)

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