March 2015 Employment Situation Report

While the unemployment rate remained stable for the month of March, and job growth was lower than expected, the U.S. continued to add jobs across a variety of sectors.

Workforce grows as employment situation remains stable

According to the Employment Situation released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country’s unemployment rate did not change during March, remaining at a steady 5.5 percent. The overall number of people in the workforce was 8.6 million, up 126,000 from February.

Between March 2014 and March 2015 the number of employed people has increased by 1.8 million, contributing to a 1.1 percent drop in the unemployment rate. The report explained that the civilian labor force experienced little change this month, staying solid at 62.7 percent. Notably, this number has mostly stayed between 62.7 and 62.9 percent since April 2014.

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Healthcare, retail and business services expand hiring

The 126,000 new positions were spread among a variety of fields. The industry that added the most workers this month was the professional and business services sector, which grew by 40,000. Within this general field some of the areas where hiring went up included engineering services, management and technical consulting services, and computer systems design and related services. Healthcare also saw a larger workforce in March, growing by 22,000 employees. Most of these jobs pertained to ambulatory care and hospitals. Within this sector, nursing care facilities shrank by 9,000 positions. The retail industry continued its growth, adding 26,000 jobs.

One of the fields that lost positions this month was mining, which shrank by 11,000 workers. This industry added 41,000 jobs last year, but so far has lost 30,000 jobs in 2015. Many other industries, including food service, manufacturing, construction, government, financial activities, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade changed very little throughout March.

Wages on the rise

The report indicated that hourly earnings increased for workers this month, going up by 7 cents to equal $24.86. This number has increased by 2.1 percent over the past 12 months. The average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 4 cents to rest at $20.86.

Economists anticipated more growth

While the report is stable, economists had predicted much larger growth, explained Nasdaq. Industry experts had anticipated that the nation would add 248,000 new jobs this month, while the actual number was significantly less. The source noted the Federal Reserve acknowledges that March’s report fell flat in the face of economists’ predictions, but it is not worried that the country’s economy is declining. If numbers get back on track to improving at higher rates, the organization plans to increase interest rates.

View the full Bureau of Labor Statistics report here.

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February 2015 Employment Situation Report

The U.S. experienced a positive labor report for February as the nation continued to move toward a strong employment situation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not only did the overall employment rate drop, but positions were added to a variety of sectors.

Unemployment rate drops
The unemployment rate decreased by .2 percent in February to 5.5 percent. Youth unemployment, a point of concern for the nation, experienced a positive shift as well, dropping by 1.7 percent to stand at 17.1 percent. The number of residents dealing with long-term unemployment remained relatively unchanged at 2.7 million. The civilian labor force participation rate also changed very little, coming in at 62.8 percent.

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Gains seen across a variety of industries
Overall, the country added a total of 295,000 jobs during February, exceeding the current average monthly gain of 266,000. Food services saw a significant hiring increase, adding 59,000 jobs. The professional and business services sector grew by 51,000 positions. Most of these new jobs were in the technical consulting services, computer systems design and architectural engineering fields.

The construction industry grew by 29,000 positions, most of them in the form of specialty trade contractors. Healthcare services added 24,000 jobs, many of them focusing on ambulatory care and hospitals. The transportation and warehousing sector expanded by 19,000 jobs, mostly couriers and messengers, while the retail industry continued its upward employment trend by adding 32,000 positions. Manufacturing also saw a notable increase of 8,000 jobs.

Industries that saw little change during the month of February include information, financial activities, wholesale trade and government. The mining sector saw a slight loss in its workforce.

Wages up slightly, Federal Reserve rates could increase
According to the report, average hourly earnings improved by 3 cents to the current average of $24.78. Despite this only slight improvement, the U.S. dollar reached its highest value in 11.5 years against a number of currencies, reported Reuters. This general positive growth could inspire the Federal Reserve to hike rates come June, explained the source. Although the Fed has kept overnight lending rates close to zero since December 2008, the strength and potential present in the labor report could be grounds for increases.

View the full Bureau of Labor Statistics report here.